When Isabella Long’s friends strapped on their backpacks and headed through the doors of Greenwich High School this fall, she wasn’t among the freshman class.
Instead, Isabella was tying up the satin ribbons on her pink pointe shoes and preparing for a 40-hour week of intensive ballet training in New York City.
“My dream is to become a principal dancer in one of the world’s largest and most prestigious companies,” says Isabella.
At 14, Isabella appears well on her way. Her lengthy resume includes dozens of performances, as well as recognition at local and national competitions. Last spring, she was accepted at the Ellison Ballet Professional Training Program, a renowned Manhattan-based academy that regularly graduates dancers who join top companies across the U.S., Europe, and Asia.
At seven, she joined Greenwich Ballet Academy, where she began the studio’s rigorous Vaganova program. This method originated in St. Petersburg, Russia and produced many of the world’s greatest dancers, including Anna Pavlova, Rudolph Nureyev, and Mikhail Baryshnikov.
Throughout elementary and middle school, Isabella trained six days a week, doing homework in the car and late at night. It was an exhausting routine, but she never wavered. “She’s incredible at time management,” says Alessandra Massineo Long, Isabella’s mother. “She has to plan ahead every step of the way, and be extremely dedicated and persistent.”
Alessandra praises Greenwich Ballet Academy for offering technically challenging instruction in a nurturing environment. Founded in 2006, the studio has grown to include over 100 students and a dozen instructors.
“We’ll really miss GBA, because it’s been such an important part of Isabella’s life,” says Alessandra. “The fact that she could have such high-level classical training close to home allowed her to balance her dance and academics. Someday she would love to return to GBA, perhaps as a guest artist.”
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