A Howe Hall AIMS 5th-grader has stepped, twirled and bounced her way into a select group of dancers.
Brodi Bellush has been chosen to compete in the Youth American Grand Prix (YAGP) dance competition. She will begin the international competition in February at the North Carolina School of the Arts with the opportunity to advance to the New York semifinals in April. The prestigious invite-only ballet competition will host more than 1,000 of the world’s most promising dancers.
As a 10-year-old, Brodi is one of the youngest to be chosen.
“With the amount of talent, training and dedication to be involved in such a prestigious dance organization, it’s quite an honor, especially as young as she is,” her mother Karen Bellush said.
Mrs. Bellush is no stranger to competitive dancing. She’s the dance instructor at Marrington Middle School of the Arts and she’s a former member of the Rockettes.
“I cannot express how truly proud I am of my daughter, but I am equally nervous,” she said.
Brodi began taking dance lessons at the age of three and at age five began to focus more on ballet. Her mother said in ballet, Brodi found a “happy place.” She believes the opportunities and exposure provided by Howe Hall AIMS have aided her child’s passion.
As an arts magnet school, Howe Hall AIMS incorporates ballet dance into class instruction throughout the year. The accomplishment is a reflection of her work ethic, and Howe Hall AIMS Principal Chris Swetckie says she works hard in all of her classes.
“Brodi is a member of our AIMS Dance Company,” Swetckie said. “She always gives 100 percent and her talents are a wonderful addition to that group.”
With the acceptance into the world’s largest global network of dance, Brodi will benefit from workshops, auditions and master classes. Over the past 19 years, YAGP has awarded more than $3.5 million in scholarships to leading dance schools.
“We are always proud of our students and their accomplishments,” Swetckie said. “Brodi is a wonderful ambassador for AIMS and we expect to hear great things about her accomplishments in the future.”
In addition to being a member of the AIMS Dance Company, Brodi trains at an American Ballet Theatre certified studio. As she prepares for the international competition, she rehearses four days each week. While Karen does worry a bit about the pressure, Brodi is taking it all in stride and says she will simply do her best while having fun at the competition she playfully refers to as the “YAY-GP.”
“I’m super excited,” Brodi said. “I really like the solos that I get to perform, but I am most excited about my costumes. I get to wear a REAL tutu! I’m also excite about going out of state. I am a little nervous because it’s the first time I have been completed by myself onstage. I hope I do a good job.”