A Dancer's Dream

My name is Brennan Benson. I'm sixteen years old, and I live in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I have had a passion for dance since I was very young. When I was ten years old, I found a local studio that offered ballet scholarships for boys and I begged my parents into letting me attend. After my first class, I was hooked. I had to take the city bus alone and walk downtown from the bus station to the dance studio, often in the dark and in very cold temperatures. Regardless of the weather, I always arrived on time and ready to work. After just a couple of years, I began student-teaching in exchange for tuition so I could explore other types of dance. In addition to ballet, I enjoy modern, contemporary, jazz, and lyrical dance.
I have faced some tough obstacles in my dance career, such as regaining my balance after suffering a traumatic brain injury. I have also had some challenges in my personal life, such as a house fire, the diagnosis of my 6-year-old sister's bone marrow failure syndrome, and my youngest brother being born prematurely and spending several weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. These challenges never distracted me from dance; in fact quite the opposite occurred. Dance became my refuge, my outlet, my rescuer.
My parents originally thought dance might be something that could open doors by helping me condition for other athletic opportunities, or helping with college applications. I have since come to them to say that I can't imagine dance ever not being a part of my life, and I hope to make a career of it, both as a performer and eventually as an instructor.
I have completed my Intermediate Level 6 Cecchetti exam, and will be testing for the Advanced Level 7 (the "Blackbelt of Ballet") this spring. Thanks to the generosity of others and scholarship opportunities, I have been able to previously attend summer ballet training intensives at Cecchetti Council of America, Los Angeles Ballet, BYU and Ballet West. While attending Ballet West last summer, they generously offered me acceptance and free tuition into their year-round program. Unfortunately, I do not come from a typical dance family and the funds were just not there to make that happen because living expenses add up quickly. We are a family of ten people living on a single income, so incidental dance expenses such as recital fees, new dance shoes or tights, costumes, etc. are always a huge challenge for us.
Ballet West has generously invited me to train with them again this summer. I am very excited about this opportunity as I learned and improved so much under their program last year. They kindly offered a full tuition scholarship. I need to raise funds for housing, meals, supplies and transportation. Thank you so much for your consideration.
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Brennan Benson 
Sioux Falls, SD
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