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A dancing phenom is living among us right here among us in the valley*. One that will very likely go on to make history in the world of ballet, and she is only 15 years old. Her name is Gisele Bethea. And she’s not only graceful and technically advanced in her dancing, she has a special quality that is very apparent when you see her perform.
The young dancer already scooping up awards and contract offers from all kinds of ballet companies, including one of the worlds most prestigious in New York City. And as she takes the stage in a sold-out show, The Nutcracker, at the Orpheum this weekend, those lucky enough to watch her perform will know that they are watching a superstar.
Watching Gisele Bethea move across the stage in a warm up with her partner, it is obvious that she has something special. Technically, an exceptional dancer, moving like silk across the floor, never giving an inkling of how difficult these moves really are. But to arrive at this level of perfection at the very young age of fifteen is not only incredible, it is incredibly difficult.
I was about 11 years old…
That’s when a former teacher told Gisele: she had something special.
She was always saying, “You have so much talent. You have so much potential. It’s up to you.” You know, “You can make this happen for yourself.” I started falling in love with ballet, and so I decided: I’m going to put all my, you know, hard devotion and work into this, and be able to become the best that I can. (Note: I would think this would be “devotion and hard work.”)
A short time later, the world-renowned dancer turned teacher, Slawomir Wozniak, became Gisele’s teacher and recognized her talent.
Gisele is absolutely the best dancer of her age in the whole world.
You heard him here in Arizona, a mesa* girl. It’s worth repeating.
Gisele is absolutely the best dancer of her age in the whole world. So far this is the perfect student, perfect dancer..
That perfection being recognized by judges at international ballet competitions and at ballet companies world-wide.
She was the youngest competitor at (the) Moscow competition, which is (the) Olympic games for ballet dancers.
So talented, grace in motion, but also modest, sweet and gentle with an incredible work ethic. Gisele spends two to three hours on academics daily and six to eight hours dancing. And when the prestigious world-renowned, American Ballet Company came calling, offering her a contract last year, she was only 14. Gisele did the unthinkable. She told them, “Not yet,” wanting to spend more time at home with family and training with Wozniak. The ABT (American Ballet Theater) told her they would wait.
She already got a contract open for American Ballet Theater, and…
That’s pretty rare.
And that never happens especially at this age. I mean, we are talking about 15 years-old girl (Note: This would be better said as “a 15 year-old girl”.) who can just go to New York City and perform.
Gisele Bethea may not be in Arizona for long, but audiences here will appreciate her talent, watching greatness in motion before she is whisked off to the professional world of ballet, destined to make history.
She is simply amazing. And you know you have made it in other sports, right, when you have a shoe sponsorship like Michael Jordan, Lebron James. Well, the Russian company, Griskko, the ones that make those ballet pointe shoes by hand, they sponsored Gisele. And Gisele’s schedule over the next year is rapidly filling up for performances around the world: Poland, Vienna, Turkey, and Brazil, just to name a few.
The Valley – Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area is called the Valley of the Sun or the Salt River Valley
Mesa – a flat topped hill with steep sides. Many are found in Arizona. Gisele is called a mesa girl, since she is from Arizona.