I am a ballet dancer and choreographer because I believe my art has the power to change the world.
I’ve been invited into a prestigious vocational dance program at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre – only 27 women in the world are in the program in any given year – but I need your help to chase my lifelong dream of being a professional dancer so I can make a difference in the world through community, generosity, and art.
Dance makes a real difference
Dance is about art, athleticism, community, generosity, and transformation. I love embracing all those things in my work. One of my favorite things about dance is encouraging young kids as they’re starting dance, and one of the highlights of my dance week right now is helping in a class we call “Movement Mentors” where I volunteer to help kids with different disabilities explore the world around them through dance. I love working with children and special needs children. The best part of my week is usually mentoring little girls. As I get older, I want to make sure wherever I go has programs such as these and if not I would like to start them. PBT already has a program in place for this, and I’m excited to be a part of it!
What the PBT program includes
This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that is only available to teenage dancers who are on track to become professionals. Some of the unique opportunities available in the PBT program include:
· Dance classes: ballet technique, pointe, variation, partnering, repertoire, character, contemporary, modern and jazz
· Résumé seminars
· Assistance with audition photos, cover letters, letters of rec
· Conferences with PBT school co-directors
· Guest classes taught by current and former professional dancers
· Vocational training in professional expectations in dance programs
· Connections and recommendations to professional dance opportunities
· Dancing in professional PBT performances throughout the year
· Over thirty Nutcracker performances (!)
· Small class sizes
· Student choreography showcases
· Strong sense of community
Dancing is like any high education career, you have to put in a lot of hours learning before you actually get a job.
Like professional athletes, professional dancers train as close to full time as we’re able, and do our schoolwork alongside that. This last year I’ve been doing high school via the internet to give me more time to dance. Next year my plan is to enter Running Start, which will allow me to graduate high school and get college credit while I dance. Currently, I have a 3.98 high school GPA, in addition to dancing 24-30 hours a week plus rehearsals.
Next year at PBT my dance hours would increase to 50-60 hours a week plus Running Start. If all goes according to plan, I should be able to graduate high school a year early and have a year of college taken care of by this time next year.
What the money covers
Tuition at PBT is a total of $6,698. (We’ve already paid the deposit of $500.)
$9,729 housing for a shared room in PBT’s Byham House (which includes room and board and food specifically designed for a dancer’s special diet). A friend generously covered the $500 deposit.
Total for Room/Board and tuition: $16,427
There will be other expenses, too, like travel to Pittsburgh, ballet shoes, etc. I’m applying for a tuition scholarship which should hopefully cover some of my expenses. If we raise more than $10,000, every penny will go toward my ballet education!
Why are you using GoFundMe?
My parents have worked at a non-profit for the last twenty years. Ballet is expensive – usually only people in a higher financial bracket than ours can dance regularly – and through the support and generosity of family and friends as well as a variety of scholarships I’ve been able to keep dancing. But this year is a bigger expense than in the past, so if I’m going to be able to accept this amazing opportunity I’m going to need help from our even more amazing community!
I am a ballet dancer and choreographer because I believe my art has the power to change the world. There are so many atrocities in the world: pollution, racism, sexism, hatred, and war, just to name a few. Something must be done to fix them. Art has the power to change minds, inspire people, and reflect the truth of our communities. I’ve watched so many powerful performances that leave me questioning the status quo. These dances inspire me to make a change in my life. It is my goal to be a choreographer and performer who affects others in this way. You can read my full artist statement here .
Please consider donating to help me make a difference in the world through dance, and get the vocational training I need to be a professional dancer! THANK YOU! I literally cannot do this without you!
WAYS YOU CAN HELP:
· Tell others about this campaign
· Share a link to this GoFundMe on your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or whatever social media you prefer
· When you see the link shared, “like” or comment on the link to help others see it!
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre
Questions? You can contact my dad directly at Matt@mikalatos.com. He’d be glad to tell you more or connect you to me.