Ghaleb Kayali, 10, a fifth-grader at Lido Elementary School in Long Beach, and Whitney Pynn, 14, a ninth-grader at Sayville High School, both attend the School of American Ballet at Lincoln Center. We asked them what dance means to them:
From Ghaleb: "The biggest challenge is that some steps are really hard and it takes time to learn how to do them right.
"I feel happy when I take class, because I want to dance for a living when I grow up. Ballet means a lot to me.
"I like to turn. I challenge myself to see how many turns I can make at once."
"I love to perform. It creates an indescribable feeling that nothing else can give you.
"The hardest thing about my ballet training is that it's so constant. I have to travel to Manhattan from Sayville every day, but it's definitely worth it. I feel completely overjoyed and happy when I'm dancing.
"Jumps and turns are the most challenging to learn, but they're also the most fun to do."
To learn more about George Balanchine, his company, his school and his influence on ballet, check out the following.
On the Web
• http://www.balanchine.org/ is the site for the George Balanchine Foundation
• http://www.nycb.org/ is the site for the New York City Ballet (its spring season, which includes 42 ballets by Balanchine, runs April 27 through June 27 at Lincoln Center)
• http://www.sab.org/ is the site for the School of American Ballet
• "Balanchine: A Biography," by Bernard Taper
• "Dance for a City: 50 Years of the New York City Ballet," by Lynn Garafola and Eric Foner
• "But First a School: The First 50 Years of the School of American Ballet," by Jennifer Dunning
• "Ballet 101," by Robert Greskovic
• "A Very Young Dancer," by Jill Krementz.
See for yourself
Students of the School of American Ballet at Lincoln Center get to perform for a paying audience every year. This year's performances -- four ballets by George Balanchine -- will be June 5 at 8 p.m. and June 7 at 7 p.m. at the Juilliard Theatre at Lincoln Center.
Copyright © 2004, Newsday, Inc.
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