Elevate All-Star John Michael: From Brooklyn Ballet to Harid Conservatory
Brooklyn Ballet can't wait for John Michael Abenanty to come back to the studio and perform with fellow Elevate alums on June 5 & 8. The talented 17-year-old ballet dancer took some time out of his busy six-day-a-week ballet schedule to answer a few questions about his beginnings in ballet in Brooklyn Ballet's Elevate program and what he's up to now at The Harid Conservatory in Florida:
When did you first see ballet?
I first saw ballet at my public school (PS 207) when Brooklyn Ballet was just starting their Elevate program. I was eight years old, I believe, and I was accepted into the first Elevate scholarship class.
What did you think of ballet the first time you saw it?
I instantly fell in love with the movement right away but mostly the turns! As a little boy, it was my dream to do pirouettes on stage and eventually become a professional dancer at American Ballet Theatre. I still hold onto that dream and am driven to achieve it.
When did you first take a ballet class? What was that like?
I first took ballet class on my public school's stage with Brooklyn Ballet - that’s when I met my first teacher Justin Bates, who is the main reason why I started ballet. He helped me express how enjoyable dancing is and showed me that with the right drive you can achieve anything.
Why do you love to dance?
I love to dance because the level of virtuosity is extremely high and difficult to achieve.
How do you feel when you're dancing?
I feel as if I am flying. The electricity is incredible. However, when I’m training the exhaustion, focus and pressure can be difficult to handle. That is another reason why I love ballet - I love a challenge!