The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Dedication to Dance


Anyone who has ever met Carolina Payeras, a seventh grader at WIS, can tell you just how much she loves to dance.

“When I was little I would just dance around the house, it was in my nature to dance,” Carolina Payeras explained.

Olivia Connolly, another seventh grader at WIS, used to do ballet with Carolina. When asked about their shared experiences, she told me how Carolina always worked so hard in class, and that she was very dedicated to dance. She said she was always very determined on learning new steps, and would then go above and beyond to perfect them and dance to the best of her ability. Nico Payeras, Carolina’s older brother, also said how ambitious and passionate his sister is about dance.

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For Carolina’s third birthday, she was given pink ballet tights, a pink leotard, and pink ballet slippers from her parents. She then started her first ballet classes.

By the time she was six, she was dancing two times a week in an intensive class at Adagio Ballet and Dance School. At age nine, the Joffrey Ballet company came to DC and Carolina auditioned for a role in the Nutcracker performance at the Kennedy Center. She got the role of ‘party girl’ and got paid $10 every week.

“That’s the closest thing to professional I’ve ever gotten. And I was very proud of those ten dollars a week,” Carolina said, laughing. She then got her first pair of pointe shoes at age just eleven, when most people don’t start pointe until they are at least 12 years old.

Carolina dances at Adagio Ballet and Dance School, and also dances for the Adagio Senior Ballet Company. Last winter, Carolina auditioned for two ballet camps, the Nutmeg Ballet Conservatory and the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, and got accepted into Bolshoi. The Bolshoi Ballet Academy is a big Russian dance company. Over the summer, she went to the three week summer intensive course.

“It was really amazing because I met so many people from around the country and some people even internationally, and everyone there was so good,” Carolina told me, speaking about her experience at Bolshoi.

This January, Carolina will perform, along with an ensemble of 9 other people, at the Youth America Grand Prix competition (YAGP). The YAGP is a competition for dancers aged 9-19, and she has wanted to compete since she was 10 years old. Next year, she plans on auditioning to do a solo for the competition.

“A lot of people at Bolshoi had done it. So, this year, when they invited me to do it I immediately accepted because I wanted to be just like them,” she said.

What will she do with this love of ballet? Well, with that, she has a plan laid out.

“I really want to become a professional with a very good dance company but I also know that a dancer’s career is very short because it’s physically a lot of work,” Carolina stated.

The average dancer’s career lasts only until their mid-thirties, so, Carolina has a back-up plan for when she can no longer be a ballerina. “I might want to be a dance photographer because I love photography and if I could connect that with my dancing career that would be really good,” she continued.

During her classes, her teachers want the best for the students, but show some tough love. Her training is intensive, as her teachers want her and the other dancers to improve at a quick pace. They are corrections during exercises and combinations in the form of yelling, but she knows that her teachers have their best intentions at heart.

Since the life of a ballerina is very strenuous and physically tiring, she needs to eat a lot of healthy food. Protein rich and energy filled foods, such as milk and yogurt, are her go-to snacks.

However, there are drawbacks to doing as much as Carolina does. Big projects at school become difficult to manage with the extra hours at the studio around performance times. She often has to make sacrifices for ballet, such as missing a sleepover party or not being able to hangout with her friends on Connecticut Avenue.

While ballet impacts her social life quite a lot, she also doesn’t have much time to relax. When she isn’t at dance, she is doing homework.

Carolina told me how supportive of her doing ballet her friends are, even though she can’t often do things with her friends. Many people dismiss dance, but her friends are really supportive and she is very thankful for that, she said.

However, she still thinks that ballet is immensely important in her life it not only makes her stronger physically, but also teaches her to be determined in achieving her goals.

“But it’s all worth it,” Carolina concluded.

By: Jessica Thompson

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