Maggie Chadbourne, 12, has been dancing since she was 3.
Last year, the Riverview resident performed at New York City’s Lincoln Center during the Youth America Grand Prix, and this year she was a top 20 classical ballet finalist as a competitor in that event.
Students from 9 to 19 years old contend for scholarships in the worldwide ballet competition, which draws participants from regional preliminaries in Europe, Japan and North, Central and South America. Only the finalists from all the regions compete in New York.
Maggie, who danced “Grand Pas Classique,” “Giselle” and “Tango Libre” in New York City, “placed in the top 20 out of 200 contestants,” said Alice Holden Bock, executive director of The Dance Center, 161 E. Bloomingdale Ave.
The Youth America Grand Prix made Maggie nervous.
“But I try to use that energy to help me focus and concentrate to do my best,” she said. “It helped somewhat that I was familiar with the stage and knew my way around, since I was in New York last year.”
The ballerina spends about six hours a day dancing mostly ballet in the preprofessional program at the Brandon Ballet, which is affiliated with The Dance Center. Then she takes jazz and contemporary lessons in the evenings at The Dance Center. In between, the Florida Virtual School student studies.
She said she owes a lot to her outstanding dance teachers, including Bock, Jennie Cheren, Brandon Ballet mistress Yaima Franco and artistic director Octavio Martin.
“Maggie would rather be dancing than anything else,” said her mother, Debbie Chadbourne, who accompanied Maggie to New York, along with her husband, Steve, and 11-year-old son, Cameron.
Dancing “has taught her that by working hard she can achieve what she puts her mind to and reach her goals,” Debbie Chadbourne said.
Maggie’s hard work has earned her scholarships at the Youth America Grand Prix to attend Orlando Ballet’s summer intensive and a two-week intensive at the Zurich Dance Academy of Switzerland.
“I’m doing what I love,” she said. “I’m very happy with my life. I have a passion for dance and I’m following my dreams.”
Those dreams include becoming a principal dancer at the Royal Ballet.
“I need to continue to work hard and stay focused on achieving my goal,” she said. “At this point, I would say I am on track.”
Her parents support her, too, even though sometimes they have to “divide and conquer,” Debbie Chadbourne said.
“Often have to split up in order to accomplish it all,” she said. “We will help her reach her dreams in any way we can.”
Send news of community interest to freelance writer to Barbara Routen, Barbara.Routen@gmail.com.