Performers find opportunities through ballet

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The Makaroff Youth Ballet performs “Another day in Swanee Park” on stage. ·  photo by Jordan Gilman.

Dancers from the Makaroff Youth Ballet, a local nonprofit ballet company, took the stage as a part of their annual spring concert, held in the James W. Perry Hall on the UW-Fox Valley campus April 22–23.

This year’s edition of the concert entitled Another Day in Swanee Park featured, in addition to the Makaroff Youth Ballet, local dancers from the separate Makaroff School of Ballet, as well as guest performers from the Milwaukee Ballet.

For many, especially those involved in the making the show happen, it marked another triumph in an incredible effort to keep ballet relevant in the area.

“Our mission from day one has been to bring a classical art form to the Fox Valley and let people know that ballet can be and is a viable career,” Artistic Director Jeanette Makaroff said.

For some, the concert may have been just another recital, but for Kimberly High School Senior and Makaroff Youth Ballet Dancer Lauren Twomey, it was the final time she’d take the stage as a member of the company.

“The influence the Makaroff Youth Ballet has had on my life has been so positive and the art of ballet has taught me to be a strong yet always graceful person, no matter what steps I have to take to take to achieve my goal, both on my own and in a group,” Twomey said.

Most importantly, the concert put the Makaroff Youth Ballet in the spotlight, giving the nonprofit an opportunity to separate itself from the better-known Makaroff School of Ballet, as well as other local schools.

“There are dozens of for-profit competition and recital schools. This is different,” Makaroff said. “We’re here to let people in the Fox Valley know there is accessible training. We are more of a conservatory than a business.”

As friends and families of those dancers have noticed, the Makaroff Youth Ballet offers viable opportunity for those passionate about the art form.

“It is amazing to see the joy on their faces and the passion they have when performing,” Mary Foster, in attendance to see a family friend’s granddaughter perform, said. “There is nothing quite better than being able to do something you love.”

All in all, it is safe to say the mission is paying off.

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