Salt Lake Community College now has ties to one of the oldest and most prestigious ballet schools in the world.
SLCC graduate Mariam Roe will pursue her dream of becoming a professional dancer at the famous Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, Russia.
Roe started dancing as a child, primarily learning jazz dance at a recreation center in Holladay. She shifted her focus to ballet eight years ago and hasn’t looked back.
“I moved on from [jazz] and found a passion for ballet,” she says.
Defying the odds
The Bolshoi Academy was established in 1776 and has since dedicated itself to teaching traditional Russian ballet. The school only admits about ten American students per year, and competition is high.
Roe first decided she wanted to attend the Bolshoi Academy after watching their dancers on YouTube and being amazed by how skilled they were. She wasn’t sure if she would be accepted, but decided she had nothing to lose by applying.
She submitted a video of her performances, and later received word that she would become the second person from Utah to be admitted to the program.
Learning from the best
In the months since she was accepted into the academy, Roe has taken master classes and attended dance festivals in St. Augustine, Florida and St. Petersburg, Russia. The festivals allowed Roe to learn from and rehearse with directors like Janet Springer.
Springer comes from a line of ballet teachers beginning with the renowned Agrippina Vaganova. Vaganova developed a method of ballet that meshes athleticism with the art of choreography, and puts an emphasis on the traditions of Russian ballet.
Like many other renowned ballet schools, the Bolshoi Academy uses the Vaganova method.
Pursuing a dream
While Roe prepares to study in Moscow, covering the cost of tuition is certainly an obstacle.
She has set up an online fundraiser with a goal of $12,000 to cover about half of the tuition she will need for one year. Despite the significant financial hurdle, Roe remains hopeful.
“It’s my dream,” she says.
If Roe can raise enough funds, she hopes the Bolshoi Academy will give her what she needs to become a professional dancer. She will then return to Utah to continue her studies at Utah Valley University.