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Inwood Twins Raising Funds to Attend Ballet School

 Fabian and Sebastian Garcia, 15, said attending the American Ballet Theatre program would be a
Fabian and Sebastian Garcia, 15, said attending the American Ballet Theatre program would be a "big step" for them.
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Betania Reyes

INWOOD — Twin siblings who have already performed at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall have their eyes set on an even bigger stage.

When Fabian and Sebastian Garcia, 15, started dancing almost a decade ago, they said they didn’t realize it would become such an integral part of their lives.

Their commitment has paid off, leading them all the way to the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of the American Ballet Theatre (ABT), where they were recently accepted.

“This is a big step for us,” Fabian said. “You can’t be a dancer and not have ballet.”

Unfortunately for the teens, who grew up in Washington Heights but now live in Inwood, ABT's $7,500 tuition for each student is beyond what their family can afford. Not wanting that to hold them back, their mother Betania Reyes encouraged the boys to start a fundraising campaign.

“When the results came back from the school,” Reyes said of her sons getting accepted, “I realized what was really needed to accomplish this for them.”

Reyes, who is raising the boys by herself, tried asking the school about scholarships, but was told assistance for the program wasn't available.

“I told them to start the fundraising, that it’ll be the only way to get the money,” Reyes said. “We have faith that will all come together.”

Now, the family is almost there.

Since launching the campaign early April, they had reached $7,784 of their $15,000 goal as of Wednesday afternoon.

Reyes said the twins have been relying on faith and optimism throughout their entire dancing careers, leading them to some of the best dancing programs in the country.

“They both work so hard and practice every day at the Harlem School of the Arts,” she added. “They don’t limit themselves and have never been out of school.”  

The twins started dancing at 5 years old at a summer camp run by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Since then, they have performed with Alvin Ailey at Lincoln Center, as well as on Aubrey Lynch's 2015 French tour and with the Joffrey School of Ballet. They even performed with the cast of "West Side Story" as part of the Somewhere Project at Carnegie Hall in March.

With the campaign, Fabian said he feels like he and his brother are heroes in a movie, “like we have to go through a struggle — even though it’s one of those amazing experiences, you know it’s going to turn out good.”

“I’m just very hungry and eager,” Sebastian added.

The Garcia brothers said they have until May 1 to submit the money and complete their application.

“We weren’t comfortable with the fundraising in the beginning,” Sebastian said. “We were raised to believe to earn the money and not ask for it."

“But we will pay back the people who will be donating with special performances and shout-outs,” Fabian continued. “Think of it as a payment, and in the future we’ll pay it back!”