KING CITY — King City student Ashley Madrid left last Saturday to begin her one-year studies at Kirov Academy in Washington, DC to pursue the art of ballet.
The Monterey County Dance Foundation gave Madrid a $3,000 scholarship that allowed her to get a down payment to attend school, but she still needs to raise the remaining approximately $40,000 to pay her tuition.
Madrid, 15, also received financial aid and a work-study program.
“She will actually be working in school and pulling some of her own weight, but the remaining tuition is still quite high,” said Teri Storelli, president of the foundation.
Storelli noted that the tuition not only covers tuition, but also boarding school in DC and ballet and piano training.
After arriving on the east coast this weekend, Madrid met with international students for an orientation day on Monday.
“It’s one of the most prestigious schools in the world,” Storelli said of Kirov and his international draw of top ballet students. “It’s the Harvard of ballet schools.”
Madrid said she was excited but also nervous as she has never been out for an entire year. In the past, she has spent summers away from her family and her city in intensive summer camps, usually six weeks of ballet training.
“It’s going to be fun and hard to work with,” Madrid said. “Eight hours a day of dancing and school at the same time and working. I am very lucky. I think that through the intensive summer courses I took, it prepared me for the outside world.
Madrid, who has been dancing since she was 3, is also a concert pianist and speaks several languages, including Russian, Spanish and English.
“She’s definitely mature beyond her years,” Storelli said. “When she started dancing, most kids only took one dance class, but she was begging to take two dance classes. She always had an insatiable need to dance and develop her craft.
The Monterey County Dance Foundation raises money to help local dancers, especially those who participate in programs hosted by the Monterey County Dance Theater in King City.
The foundation covers the costs of two annual productions, “The Nutcracker Ballet” and a spring performance, so students don’t have to pay to participate, as is usually the case in other cities.
“In our community, that would exclude a lot of dancers, so the foundation was created to cover those costs,” Storelli said.
Madrid’s GoFundMe is titled ‘The Talented Ballerina Needs Your Support’ and can be found at gofundme.com.