Crozet’s Albemarle Ballet Theatre recognized local businesses and individuals who contribute to the ballet’s school’s scholarship fund Nov. 20, presenting donors with certificates of appreciation and messages of gratitude from the young dancers who receive the awards.
“I’m very thankful that you make it possible for me to dance because I really love it,” 14-year-old Suzanna Morel told contributors. “When I dance I can be myself. I just want to be at the studio.”
“Ballet is something every little girl wants to do,” said Amia Salisbury. “Without this scholarship I wouldn’t be able to.”
Turtle Zwadlo, speaking on behalf of his two daughters who found themselves too shy to talk, said, “Ballet is a discipline in their lives and they wouldn’t be able to do it otherwise. We were debating which girl was going to be able to do it and now they both can. We’re very appreciative as a family.”
“I grew up in a situation where I was never not able to afford things,” said Jenny Gladding, the mother of two students. “My father provided well. But now I find myself on my own with two daughters to raise. I have to rely on courage, wits and faith. This has helped me understand how many gifts are out there. I’m very grateful.”
Jennifer Prax, who had three children at ABT at one time and once was receiving a scholarship for them, is now a donor. “I danced as a child,” she said, “and I know what it feels like in your heart to be on the dance floor.”
ABT owner and instructor Sally Hart said she was a scholarship dancer where she was with the famous Joffrey Ballet in New York. “It’s very important to give back,” she said. “Your income shouldn’t prevent you from being able to do things.” She told the group that she had once lost her all her financial security and had to ask for help for her children too.