(This article originally appeared in the January 31 print edition of the Herald)
Galen Kusic, Editor
Bella Cannon, a 13-year-old student at Benicia Middle School, was recently accepted to ArtEmotion, an elite summer ballet crash course (Ballet West Academy’s sister program) in Cleveland, OH. Girls from all over the country auditioned and only 100 were accepted by invitation only.
“She is very excited and honored to have this opportunity,” Bella’s mother, Becca Cannon, said.
At the academy, Cannon will study ballet technique, pointe, stage persona, choreography, studio and professional etiquette, dance history, nutrition, injury prevention, and more. The girls will have an intense schedule where they will dance from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. The program is intended to advance dancers as they prepare for the professional life of the ballet company.
As one can imagine, this is a very unexpected expense, and Bella is looking for companies or individuals who would be willing to help sponsor her. Any donation under $500 is considered a personal charitable donation and constitutes a tax deduction.
Bella started dancing at 18 months. By age three she had taken up ballet, and by age five she auditioned and started a local ballet company in Utah. She danced with the company until her family moved to Benicia at the end of 2018.
“She was devastated to leave her dance company,” Becca said. “We actually stayed in Utah until the end of the year just to allow him to finish playing the Nutracker.”
After leaving Salt Lake City, Bella auditioned for the Berkeley Ballet and was offered an internship. She hopes to get a college scholarship through ballet and one day wants to be part of a professional body, while aspiring to study medicine in college. She is also a budding artist.
“She loves school here, she has a wonderful group of friends,” Becca said. “Ballet is where she really found her home. She loves the structure, the movement, the choreography and the classical nature of it.
Bella’s greatest role model is Misty Copeland, American Ballet Theatre’s first African-American principal dancer. She considers her to be a strong and intelligent woman who has broken down all the barriers placed before her.
To donate for Bella’s tuition and travel, please contact Becca at [email protected] or Venmo @Becca-Cannon-1.
Below is a letter Bella wrote asking for one-time support:
Dear future sponsor,
I would like to take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Bella Cannon and I will soon be 13 years old. I am a student at Benicia Middle School and I have good grades. My parents take care of it, but I’m also very motivated. I love to read, sometimes I’d rather read than sleep! I am also working to become a great artist. I have many interests, but my main passion is ballet.
We moved to Benicia just over a year ago from Salt Lake City, UT. The transition was tough, but what made it easier for me was getting a dance internship with the Berkeley Ballet. I’ve worked so hard to get where I am in ballet and I’m working really hard to advance my ballet education and earn a college scholarship and make a career out of it.
I recently auditioned for a summer dance crash course in Cleveland, OH. It’s a Ballet West Academy intensive and it’s a highly coveted intensive. The invitation to attend is only extended to 100 students nationwide. I just learned that they would like me to attend! It’s a fantastic opportunity and I wish I could go. Although I would love to go, the expenses are quite high. I am looking for sponsors who would be willing to help me with tuition, boarding and travel expenses. Any help towards the cost would be greatly appreciated!
I am so excited about this opportunity. Thank you very much for your consideration in becoming a sponsor and helping me achieve my dream. I look forward to hearing from you.