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Young dancer takes stage with the masters

Colonie boy secures role in NYC Ballet production at SPAC

John Zorbas of Colonie takes to the bar during a ballet class. He has been dancing for a year and will be stepping on SPAC’s stage with the NYC Ballet in their performance of “Firebird” on Thursday, July 12, and Friday, July 13.

John Zorbas of Colonie takes to the bar during a ballet class. He has been dancing for a year and will be stepping on SPAC’s stage with the NYC Ballet in their performance of “Firebird” on Thursday, July 12, and Friday, July 13.

“It’s not just about the fun of it and being on stage. It’s about seeing the company and how it works,” she said.

SPAC President and Executive Director Marcia White said bringing a ballet in which local children can dance in is very important to SPAC.

“It really provides local children with an opportunity for exposure with the world’s greatest dance company,” she said. “It takes children that have a great dream on a great journey.”

She added the dancers make not only their friends and families proud, but the whole community, and that opportunity is a “great confidence builder” for the children. She noted the young local dancers who audition tend to be good students.

“I think it’s the discipline that comes hand-in-hand with it. … You can’t be a dancer at the level that you’re selected by the New York City Ballet unless you have that,” she said.

Leslie Kettlewell has been Zorbas’ dance instructor for the past year at the National Museum of Dance’s School of The Arts. She said her student is exuberant about life and brings little surprises to class every week.

“He once brought in a stuffed animal that he really liked and propped it up for the whole class. … He has the ability to watch when something is demonstrated and emulate it. He really focuses,” said Kettlewell.

Zorbas is looking forward to his time on the big stage, where he’ll be a cape bearer.

“I get to hold a cape and put it down and go across the stage. I’ll have a black cape,” he said.

He added ballet is “a good way to get stronger” and that he’s building up his muscles so that he can do the lifting (“partnering” in ballet terms) later on.

Zorbas will be performing in productions of “Firebird” on Thursday, July 12, at 2 p.m., and Friday July 13, at 8 p.m. For ticket information, visit spac.org.

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