EDISON, NJ - Most young girls have a dream, whether it is to be the first astronaut to reach Mars or to be the next sensational super-model. Fourteen year old Grace McCann of Edison dreams of being a ballerina. The difference between Grace and many other young women is that she has dedicated her life to achieving her goal.
Grace, who has studied dance at the Lustig Dance Theatre Dance and Wellness Studio located on Albany Street in New Brunswick, under the direction of the renowned choreographer and artistic director, Graham Lustig, wants to further her dream by attending the University of North Carolina School of the Arts Summer Intensive for Classical Ballet this summer. However, tuition fees for the camp are over $5000, a cost that was out of her family's budget.
Christine McCann, Grace's mother, reached out to Gloria Dittman, the president of the Edison Arts Society to see if the EAS could find a way to help Grace with her dilemma.
“Fulfilling Grace's dream of becoming a professional dancer clearly fits with the mission statement of the Edison Arts Society. We nurture all forms of the arts, including dance, music, photography, the visual arts, and literature in the community,” Dittman remarked.
The EAS, with the cooperation of Lustig's Dance and Wellness Studio held a benefit on Sunday, May 3 at Edison High School called “All She Wants to Do is Dance.” The proceeds from the event will go to help finance Grace's tuition for the North Carolina program.
Grace opened the show with “Swan Lake-Odette Variation, Act II.” In her sparkling, white tutu, Grace charmed the audience with her linear technique and beauty.
Also performing onstage were the Edison High School Choir comprised of Ashley Amberg, Maya Beal, and Gillian Caruso in a number entitled “Ariana Grande Medley.” Rebecca Temple performed a solo entitled "La Vie En Rose". The entire Lustig Dance Theatre Ensemble, including Nicole Carr, Rose Gellman, Matea Hammond, Sarah Liebau, Zakiyyah Meadows, Aliza Yousey, Sepehr Gharari, and Grace McCann performed two stunning pieces “Corroboree,” choreographed by Graham Lustig and “Vevace,” choreographed by Bat Abbit.
Special soloists included Victoria Jahn, who has danced with ARC Dance in Seattle and the Oakland Ballet. In Sunday's benefit she performed "La Bayadere, Second Shade Soloist Variation" Act II, and also joined Grace in "Spanish Dance" from Lustig's "A Jazzy Nutcracker".
Seyong Kim, currently on the faculty at both the Mason Gross School of the Arts and LDT's Dance and Wellness Studio, performed a Pas De Duex from "Le Corsaire Grand Pas" Act II with Grace McCann and also performed "Ali's Variation",Act II from same ballet, plus performed a duet with Jahn entitled "Infinitum"
Jacob Goode, a senior at Edison High Shool and recipient of the 2014 EAS Scholarship engaged the audience with his vocal talent in three numbers, “Tenerise Sea,” “Yellow" and "Justin Timberlake Mashup" with fellow EHS Choir Members, Ian Galamay, Julian Beal, Agriya Butchibabu and Isham Huq.
“Listening to Jacob sing proves how beneficial the efforts of the EAS are to nurturing young talent in the community. We are now near the goal of sending Grace to the Intensive Workshop for Classical Ballet, but we would welcome further donations to make Grace's dream become a reality,” Dittman said
Contributions, made out to the Edison Arts Society, can be sent to 15 Midland Road, Edison, NJ 08820. For further information abouit becoming a member of the EAS, call 732-548-9134.