Young ballerinas to share the stage with the pros

It's becoming a tradition.

The New York City Ballet takes up residency at Saratoga Performing Arts Center each summer and invites Capital Region children to dance alongside them. This year, 34 local dancers, including 15 from Saratoga County, were chosen to share the stage with some of ballet's elite.

Mahogany Akita of Saratoga Springs is only 11 but her dance resume reads like a young professional. This is her third year auditioning when the NYC Ballet comes to town and each year her roles grow.

The first year I got an understudy part and last year I auditioned and I got into 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' and that was fun, said Akita, who has danced for five years. "This year I auditioned and there were two different productions going on and I ended up getting into both."

Akita will perform in "Circus Polka" and "Magic Flute." She said dancing well enough for one performance is honor enough, but dancing her way into two shows was unexpected.

"I was really shocked because when I told my ballet school they said that was unheard of, getting two parts in the NYC Ballet being a child, so I felt excited and I felt really nervous because I didn't know if I was going to remember the moves or not," said Akita, who attends Saratoga City Ballet.

The NYC Ballet will perform at SPAC from Tuesday, July 5, to Saturday, July 16. Being in multiple shows will both ease her nerves and help her dance perfectly, said Akita.

"Sometimes I get nervous but there's more than one show so the first show I'll probably be nervous, the second show I'll probably be a little better and by the time the third and fourth show comes along I'll be perfect," said Akita.

The magnitude of what she's a part of isn't lost on Akita.

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