Middle School Student to Attend Renowned Interlochen Arts Camp
“Lights, camera, action!” This is a familiar phrase to Grade 8 student Avani Venkat, who will attend the renowned Interlochen Arts Camp, a premier summer arts program for aspiring artists in grades 3 through 12, in Michigan this summer.
Juniors Mishon Levine and Luke Tyson co-founded Students Taking Action for a New Democracy (STAND), a new organization that is taking a STAND by empowering high school students to be engaged global citizens.
Sewickley Academy’s Science Bowl team competed in the Western Pennsylvania Science Bowl on Saturday, February 23, at the Community College of Allegheny County’s South Campus, tying with Shady Side Academy for first place in the Natural Gas division.
Middle School Student is on Pointe in Ballet Competitions
Due to her small stature, most people would not instantly recognize that Adien (Adi), a Grade 6 student at Sewickley Academy, is a powerhouse on the stage. When she dons her pointe shoes and ornate costumes, she transforms into a graceful ballerina who is being noticed by national and international companies alike for her talent and skill.
The soon to be 12 year old began her ballet training when she was three, and entered her first of three competitions a year ago starting with the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP). “There aren't very many competitions for ballet. My school is not a competition school, so we don't do a lot of competitions,” Adi explained. “I qualified for the finals for the World Ballet Competition in June 2018. There were dancers from everywhere, China, Russia, France, South America … so many countries. I’m competing in the YAGP again this year.”
Although Adi is new to the competition world, she finished in the top 10 at YAGP and 14th at the World Ballet in 2018. This past January, she earned second place in the Youth America Grand Prix in classical variations and placed in the top 12 for contemporary. In the YAGP’s regional semifinal round, she competed against ballerinas who performed approximately 100 pieces who came from as far away as Toronto, Canada, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Washington D.C.
While Adi and her family await notification of her qualification to be in the YAGP’s national finals held in New York, a representative from The Bolshoi Ballet saw her at the competition and sent her a letter asking her to study with the company this summer. She was also accepted into the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) children's summer intensive and will train with the company for a portion of the summer. The prestigious program – located at the ABT studio on Broadway in New York City – selected Adi as one of 50 children in her age group out of 5,000 applicants.
Adi is very excited about the opportunity to live in New York City this summer. “I love being in New York! The pizza is delicious. I love getting to work with new teachers, and many of the teachers at ABT are, or were, professional ballerinas for the American Ballet Theatre,” she said. “My first year I went there, I met Misty Copeland in my class! It was amazing because Misty is a famous principal dancer with ABT, and being a principal dancer is the highest ranking dancer you can be.” She hopes the experience will help her improve and add new variations to her repertoire to get ready for next year’s YAGP.
As a Middle School student, Adi admits it is challenging to manage her dance and school schedules. “It's hard. I train and rehearse for two to five hours a day, most days of the week. Sometimes every day of the week,” she shared. Although Adi’s routine is strenuous and she sacrifices a lot of free time, it’s worth it to pursue her passion. “I like moving. I like the challenge. I like learning new variations, which are solos from professional ballets.”