Bedford, Manchester teens win dance scholarships

Four area Southern New Hampshire Youth Ballet dancers received scholarships at this year’s Regional Dance America Festival held in Montreal.

Local recipients include Brianna Hawkins, of Bedford; and Emily Apple and Amelia Lawrence, both of Manchester. Alexandria Hebert, of Merrimack, also received a scholarship

“I couldn’t be more proud of all my dancers,” said Trisha Lavoie, artistic director of Southern New Hampshire Dance Theater. Southern New Hampshire Youth Ballet is the performing company of the school.

Hawkins, a 17-year-old senior at Bedford High School, has been performing with SNHYB for more than three years. While attending the festival, Hawkins received a $200 cash award and was given early acceptance to the Dance Program at the University of Texas at Austin. In the 2010 performance of “The Nutcracker,” Hawkins was cast as Clara and has been performing in various lead roles since.

“This has opened my eyes to the notion that I could continue my dance life in college. Now, one college already saw something in me they liked!” Hawkins said.

Apple, 16, has been dancing with SNHDT for more than nine years. She received a full tuition scholarship to Pennsylvania Regional Ballet’s Summer Program. Apple has been performing with SNHYB for the past five years and has performed in many lead roles, including Spanish Soloist and Mirliton Soloist in The Palace Theatre’s annual production of “The Nutcracker,” Sapphire Fairy in “Sleeping Beauty,” and Pas des Trios from “Swan Lake.” Apple also received a scholarship from the Regional Dance America Northeast Festival in 2011 and was one of only seven dancers in the Northeast Region to be nominated for the Jonathan Phelps Memorial Scholarship.

“Emily is a very dedicated dancer. She takes in every minute of every opportunity presented to her. This is a great opportunity for her to learn from other teachers, dancers and choreographers,” Lavoie said.

Lawrence, a 17-year-old homeschooler, represented SNHYB for the first time at RDA’s National Festival and received a full-tuition scholarship to Philadelphia Dance Theatre’s Summer Dance Program and early acceptance to the Dance Program at the University of Texas at Austin. Lawrence has appeared as the Harlequin Doll, Chinese Soloist, Snow Flake and Waltz of the Flowers in the 2011 performance of “The Nutcracker” at the Palace Theatre.

“The early acceptance to the University of Texas is so thrilling. These past two years studying with SNHDT and the Youth Ballet have helped me grow tremendously, not only in my dancing and technique, but as a dancer developing my own style,” Lawrence said.

Regional Dance America is a national organization of pre-professional dance companies. Evaluated in 2005, SNHYB – a nonprofit organization – became the first company from New Hampshire and the only company from New England to be accepted into this organization.

In the spring of each season, dancers from the youth ballet travel to participate in a festival with other member companies where they attend master classes during the day and participate in performances in the evenings. Recognized for its performances at each festival, the youth ballet recently was named a Regional Honor Company with RDA Northeast.

Southern New Hampshire Youth Ballet, founded in September 1996, serves as a training ground for local youths and pre-professional students by providing intensive training, individual coaching, performing opportunities, and exposure to master classes from various guest artists.

For more information, visit www.snhdt.org.