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Young Ballerinas Audition for Prestigious School of American Ballet

By Emily Frost | April 5, 2013 6:28pm

UPPER WEST SIDE — Five and 6-year-olds from across the city leaped, skipped, jumped, ran and pirouetted their way through auditions Friday afternoon for a select spot at the prestigious School of American Ballet.

More than 100 children turned out — with an expected 500 more auditioning over the course of the month — in hopes of winning one of the 100 spots for the incoming class, the school said.

Little girls clad mostly in baby blue and pale pink leotards with their hair pinned up in a classic ballerina bun, and more than a handful of boys in shorts and T-shirts, were prodded by teachers to test the flexibility of their feet, hips and legs. Later, they showed off how they moved across the floor of a studio, accompanied by live piano music.

"Some start [ballet] when they're 3-years-old," said Amy Bordy, director of public relations for the school, of the assembled group.

Previous experience is not required to join the school, which is only focused on ballet and does not offer an academic curriculum. Between ages 6 and 10 is "early enough to get started and learn the fundamentals," Bordy said.

Students can attend regular school as well until the age of 15, when the School of American Ballet's classes begin to meet in the daytime. At that point students either enroll at the Professional Children's School or the Professional Performing Arts School, receive homeschooling or take classes online, said Bordy.

Mom Jordana Baldwin, 41, from Greenwich Village, brought her 6-year-old daughter Hazel to the audition.

"We live in the city with the greatest ballet school in the country, so we thought we'd check it out," Baldwin said.

Sarah Kugelman, 40, from the Upper East Side, said that for her daughter Alexa Nanes, 6, seeing the Nutcracker twice at Lincoln Center is what hooked her on pursuing ballet more seriously.

Nanes began ballet at age 2 and said she loves "doing all the steps," though she confessed she was a bit nervous about her audition.

"It's just an amazing opportunity to do something she loves at one of the best schools in the world," Kugelman said.

Auditions will be held throughout April and early May in Harlem, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Chinatown and more information can be found here.