JUNEAU, Alaska — A Juneau teenager has been invited to train at Moscow's famed Bolshoi Ballet Academy.
Máire New was one of 15 U.S. students invited to spend six weeks this summer studying ballet and the Russian language. They were told then that some might be invited back for the full year.
Máire was one of three get the invitation, the Juneau Empire reported.
"I freaked out," said Máire, 16. "I was so excited. It was really a dream come true."
She said throughout the summer, the dancers took part in an intensive evaluation: their training sessions were videotaped and there were observers in the room.
"There's definitely pressure but it's OK," she said. "You just have to focus and do your best."
Her summer training included four hours of dance, cultural excursions and four hours of studying Russian.
"It's a beautiful language. It's really hard but I love it," she said.
And she had to learn it since that's the language her dance instructors taught.
"By the end I was having dreams in Russian," she said.
She has only been taking ballet lessons for four years, but previously had been a Scottish Highland dancer. Her mother, Diana Rossmiller, said she gravitated to ballet to broaden her experience.
"She decided she wanted to expand her repertoire, basically, and grow as a dancer, so she went over to Juneau Dance Unlimited and took a class, and just fell in love with it," Rossmiller said. "At that point she was 12, very late for a ballet student to begin, but she was able to move through the classes quite quickly."
Besides training in Juneau, she's also taken part in summer programs at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York and another Bolshoi program, also in new York.
While a scholarship helped pay for her summer program in Moscow, she has to come up with $26,000 tuition for the full year. She researching ways to raise money, and has started an Internet fundraising campaign. As of Friday, that site has already generated $1,300.
When she's in Moscow, her mother will continue to homeschool her through Skype.
Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, http://www.juneauempire.com