Spending a month away from home might be nerve-racking for a fourteen-year-old child.
But, spending a month away from home while training in a pre-professional ballet program in New York City turned out to be a life-changing experience for Mahomet-Seymour Freshmen Georgia Liagridonis.
Georgia left the comforts of Mahomet in mid-October to train with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, one of the most recognized and respected performing arts brands in the world, in New York City.
Living out of a hotel, the freshmen stayed in New York City for four weeks.
“This experience is one that she will never forget,” Georgia’s mom Jennifer said. “The schoolwork on her own, navigating the city, dancing harder than ever imagined, being away from home for four weeks, living out of a hotel, and experiencing life as a company dancer first hand. All of these experiences are ones that have changed her, prepared her for her future, and motivated her to take risks and dream big.”
With responsibilities from home on her plate, Georgia was also required to attend four-hour training with the Complexions Contemporary Ballet Pre-Professional Program from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Georgia is no stranger to a rigorous schedule, though.
While in Mahomet, she attends school, then trains at Art in Motion Dance Studio 20 hours a week year round. Georgia is classically trained in Ballet, Pointe, Contemporary, Jazz, Lyrical, Tap, Modern, Tumbling, Hip Hop, and Improv.
As a member of the Art in Motion competition teams, she travels throughout the United States to perform in about seven competitions per year. Part of her schedule also includes training at conventions and universities where she takes classes from top dance instructors and choreographers.
In the summer of 2017, Georgia attended the Complexions Contemporary Ballet Summer Intensive at the University of Southern California.
There, Georgia trained with 15 other dancers who auditioned for the opportunity.
Through this training, her talent was recognized by the Complexions Contemporary Ballet Co-Founder Master Choreographer Dwight Rhoden and professional dancers with the company.
At the beginning of the school year, Georgia received a letter from Complexions Contemporary Ballet, letting her know that she had been selected to be part of the 4-week program beginning on October 23.
“It was such an honor to be selected within these group of dancers,” Georgia said.
Working alongside 11 selected dancers ranging in ages 14-22 years, Georgia trained for four hours every day during the four weeks she was away from home.
“My technique grew and my ability to pick up choreography improved,” she said. “I have learned that I am more capable than I thought I was.”
Part of that realization came in knowing that, although she is only fourteen-years-old, she is capable of independently taking responsibility for her time.
Georgia’s parents did not hold her hand as she prepared to leave home.
“This opportunity has prepared her for her future by challenging her independence and ability to take responsibility for herself and her work, and practiced daily working tirelessly toward her dreams,” Jennifer said.
Georgia worked with the Mahomet-Seymour School District to set up ways to keep up with her studies while she was away and she worked with her home studio, Art In Motion, to make sure she kept up with what her competition team would work on while she was gone.
“Mahomet-Seymour was very accommodating in helping with my school work during this time,” she said. “They were 100-percent supportive and went above and beyond to help me learn independently while I was away.”
“Yes, it was very difficult,” she continued. “I learned to never underestimate the value of classroom teaching.”
Georgia said she also learned the value of having a support system at home, too.
“None of this would have been possible without the support of my family, Mahomet-Seymour High School, Art In Motion Dance Studio, extended family and friends,” she said.