The lines of her Arabesque long and lean, as she poses for the camera, Erin Casale ballerina trained at The Academy of Russian Ballet in Manassas, Virginia doesn’t look out of place. Even if she was at a Gym’s locker room. This wasn’t her comfort zone, she was put on the spot, yet she handled it with the grace of a true Prima Ballerina.
To Erin dance is the purest form of self-expression. “Makes me feel free. Like I am not judged. It is the perfect way for me to release everything.” It wasn’t until January two years ago, at fourteen, that Erin realized her potential. She had competed in Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) and was picked in the top twelve from over 100 hundred competitors.
This was when she began her search for more. She had been exposed to Russian Ballet when she first moved to the Northern Virginia Area. She fell in love with the art, but she has literally outgrown the studio. “I have gotten to the point that I can’t do things full out because the studio is too small and there are way too many kids there.” This was her last year with the Academy.
In the search for growth in her path, Erin went out on a limb and auditioned for different summer intensives. HARID Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida is a prestigious tuition-free professional training school for gifted young dancers. It offered the professional direction Erin desired. “The numbers,” Erin’s Mother Jill Casale states. “There were 400 dancers to audition for the summer intensive, but only 64 are chosen.” Jill’s passion is for her children to achieve their dreams. “This summer intensive is like a Four Week Audition for Year round school.”
With hopes of that coveted Year round spot, Erin auditioned and was immediately offered a Scholarship for the Summer Intensive. “He didn’t even see half of what I could do, He didn’t even see any of my point work or anything,” Erin says of her audition.
In the future, Erin hopes to work for Pittsburgh Ballet Theater. “At Pittsburgh, the dancers have soul,” Erin says of the home of her heart. She grew up just outside of Pittsburgh and for years has done summer intensives with them. She learned the basics of partnering there and began to take leads in productions when she returned home.
“Pittsburgh is where she saw her first Ballet when she was six,” Her mother says. “So I know HARID will prepare her for the professional life she wants.” The Summer intensive at HARID Conservatory will serve as an audition of sorts to catapult her career.
As a dancer, Erin could bring much innovation to the art. Her love of music spans many genres. A fusion of culture and sounds that will make the evolution of her talents a wonder to watch. Her instructors at the academy applaud and encourage her growth. “He says he thinks she is company ready.” Her mother says of Erin’s instructor. “He says he doesn’t want her to die here.”
Erin is talented, expressive and creative. It is clear that everyone that knows her talent can see a bright future ahead of this Prima Ballerina.
Update: Erin Casale did not receive the scholarship to the HARID Institute, but she did realize her dream of taking a spot at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater and is currently residing in Pittsburgh, PA.