Young ballerina takes big leap

Posted on September 28, 2016 by Sonoma Valley Sun


By Jonathan Farrell | Special to The Sun — Sonoma Conservatory of Dance is very proud to announce that one of its own, Elinor Fucile has been accepted to the American Ballet Theatre School this fall, bringing the aspiring 12-year-old one step closer to her dream of joining the New York City Ballet.

Elinor is among the fortunate few to be admitted to the prestigious ballet school. And, as her teacher at SCD for the past eight years Patty O’Reilly said, “ABT is one of the best ballet schools in the nation.”

“I have known Elinor since she first started with us, when she was four,” said O’Reilly. “She wants to be a professional ballerina and so it is time for her to leave the small pond of Sonoma.”

Fucile’s mom Stacey noted that even though Elinor has been accepted, “she will have to audition each year to continue. And, that’s by invitation only.” Stacey talked to The Sun from Costa Mesa, where ABT has a satellite campus. Competition there will be rigorous and each step along the way for a career-minded dancer is highly coveted.

The Costa Mesa campus is an expansion of a 27-year relationship between the Center and American Ballet Theatre. The school opened in September 2015. “It offers unrivaled opportunities for training, seeking to nurture future generations of dancers,” said Principal Alaine Haubert, a board member of ABT since 1999.

Elinor has attended the summer workshops there, but the school itself is quite exclusive.

“SCD here in Sonoma, provides students with an opportunity to discover dance and the joy of it,” O’Reilly said. “I have taught Elinor and all my students all the necessary etiquette of ballet, (steps, ballet vocabulary terms and movements) so they can advance further.”

Stacey described Elinor’s love of dance as very passionate. “She tried different things besides ballet, like softball. But Elinor stuck with ballet and she really, really loves it. Even after school, as soon as she gets home, she’s eager to put on the ballet shoes and start her practice routines.”

Elinor’s idol is ballerina Misty Copeland principle ballerina for the ABT ballet company in New York City. Exciting for Elinor is the fact that Copeland is an alumnae of the ABT summer program in Costa Mesa.

The move from Sonoma won’t be easy, admits Stacey. Elinor is leaving all her friends and people she has known in Sonoma for her entire life.

“When Elinor asked and said ‘Mom, please, please’ can I go to ABT’ I knew in my heart we had to do what we could to help her reach that goal.” When asked if she and Elinor’s father (who works at Pixar) were prepared to go off on this adventure, Stacey said, “this is what must be done if Elinor is to make it to a major company.”

“It’s a big step for a 12-year-old to aim for NYC Ballet,” said Stacey, “but Elinor has our support 100 percent.”


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