One Boy’s Dream to Dance

Ballet has pretty much been part of my entire life – when I was small I watched my mom teach and my sister dance, and I’m sure all I listened to in my moms belly is classical music.  I started dancing when I was 6 when my mom opened a small dance school with Mrs. Stephanie Clarke. It wasn’t until I was about 8 years old that my mom discovered that I had stage presence and I joined our studio’s dance completion team.  I was in lots of dance pieces including hip hop, jazz and tap and I’ve enjoyed the stage ever since.

At the age of 9 I earned the opportunity to dance my first ballet solo and competed it at Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP). I placed in the top 12 that year and that’s the year I decided ballet was my favorite dance style.  That year I also auditioned with my sister to attend the Bolshoi Ballet Academy summer intensive and they accepted me!  I went there that summer with my sister and had a great time and learned so much. I continued to attend Bolshoi for the next 2 summers, on scholarship. 

Last year I competed in YAGP again and was invited to the finals in NYC and had the privilege to take part in the "Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow" Gala at the Lincoln Center.  That was a dream come true and an experience I will never forget!  And last summer I attended American Ballet Theater (ABT) summer intensive in NYC on full scholarship. 

Without the scholarships I’ve received along the way I don’t think we would have been able to afford to go to these intensives, it surely has helped make things possible for me and I'm very thankful.

In Dec of 2017 and 2018 I was invited and had the honor to guest at Dance Theatre International's "Nutcracker" performance in San Jose, CA.   They offered for me to perform the leading role as Nutcracker and this led to me being able to share the stage with international stars Mr. Joseph Gatti and Diana Gomez, as well as national stars Benjamin Freemantle and Madison Keesler from San Francisco Ballet and Ask LaCour and Theresa Reichlen from NYC Ballet.  These were such amazing experiences and I’m extremely thankful to Dance Theatre International for these opportunities.

Every year now I participate in YAGP because it's such a great experience and I really enjoy it.  This year I was in the Junior level which was very competitive with over 150 incredibly strong and talented dancers.  I managed to place in the top 12 and was so excited when I was offered a scholarship to attend Colorado Ballet School this summer!

Since starting ballet I've dreamed of being able to attend Royal Ballet in London or Paris Opera School and incredibly both those dreams are a possibility this year!  I sent in audition videos and was accepted to the summer intensives at both Royal Ballet and Paris Opera - unfortunately both non-scholarship offers.  I've had amazing opportunities and experiences already and these are incredible opportunities for me but the cost to go there and attend either or both of them is a lot.  

My parents have managed to help my sister and I pursue our dreams so far but with my sister starting college this fall it would be a lot for them to also pay for my summer intensives programs, and the travel expenses that come with them.  Which is why I’m starting this Go-Fund me site – it would be amazing if I could get enough people to sponsor me to cover my expenses for all 3 intensives.  My family would join me because they don’t want me to travel alone but if I could raise enough to cover my expenses then they could more easily cover their expenses.  

I know that getting accepted to take classes at such prestigious schools is a rare opportunity and I feel I need to try to see how I can make this work because opportunities like this don’t come along very often.

It would be incredible to find a way to get sponsored by someone who could help me pursue my goal of becoming a professional dancer.  If something like that were to happen then I’d more easily be able to pursue my dance dreams without having to worry about how to pay for them.  I’ve heard about things like that happening but have no idea how to find a person like that.  So for now I’m just going to focus on what is in front of me and am hoping to raise enough to help out this summer.

Thank you for taking the time to read a little about me and my dance story.  To find out more you can also check me out on Instagram @jadonmbranner - I’ve posted about my opportunities and experiences so far but there is a lot more I want to add to it.  If you’d like to help me add to it and be a part of it you can do so right here and if you know someone who would like to be part of it please share this link with them.

Thank you again!

Jadon Mychael Branner
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Marie Jennifer Picart Branner
Bremerton, WA

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