2020 Senior Spotlights

Seniors and Pre-Professional students Ava DiNicola, Zoe de Torres Curth and Maggie Weatherdon will be finishing their time at Neglia Conservatory of Ballet in June 2020. 

Because of the pandemic, their final months at the studio were interrupted and we're sad they didn't get a typical senior send-off complete with a final End of the Year performance. 

But they have shown such grace and perseverance in continuing on Zoom without complaint and being positive role models for the younger students.

We will miss their cheerful presence at the studio (and backstage at Shea's). We're excited for the next chapters of their lives at Bossov Ballet Theatre, Sarasota Ballet School, and Royal Winnipeg Ballet

Keep dancing!

Ava, Zoe & Maggie pictured at the kick-off for the Buffalo News Neediest event, November 2019 

"Symphony in F" (J. Brahms) choreographed by Heidi Halt, Spring Gala 2019.
AVA DiNICOLA (second from left) MAGGIE WEATHERDON (right)

(photo by Gene Witkowski)

ZOE as Marie in The Nutcracker at Shea's, November 2019

photo by Gene Witkowski

Zoe de Torres Curth

Zoe is from Bariloche, Argentina and she graduates this year from Buffalo Seminary where she has spent the last two years for high school. She first came to Neglia for a Summer Intensive in 2018.

Zoe's future plans include taking an apprenticeship with Bossov Ballet Theatre in Pittsfield, Maine. She plans to keep dancing and some day, hopefully, join a company.

When asked about memories of Neglia Ballet, Zoe says:

"It's hard to pick just one memory because I had so many awesome times at Neglia. But I would say is a tie between the Nutcracker rehearsals and the sleepover we had with the whole group. I had so much fun!"

Zoe says that what she'll miss most are "Sergio’s random stories in between combinations, the talks (and laughs) in the changing room with the rest of the girls, the sunsets at the Tri-Main, performing at Shea’s and mostly sharing everyday class with so supportive friends and teachers!"

Last November 2019, Zoe danced the role of Marie in the Nutcracker, which she says was her favorite role to perform during her time at Neglia. "The whole experience was wonderful and I couldn’t believe I was sharing the stage with such talented people!"

Zoe has been accepted to: University of Utah (and dance program), Butler University and their dance program, and to the Bossov Ballet Theatre apprenticeship program. Zoe will be pursuing the BBT apprenticeship in Maine.

AVA performing "Flowers" in The Nutcracker at Shea's, November 2019

Photo by Gene Witkowski

Ava DiNicola

From which academic school are you graduating?

Nardin Academy

When did you start studying at Neglia?

I started when I was 10 years old.

What are your post-high school plans and goals?

After high school, I plan on continuing my education in college and my passion for ballet. I would love to be a Physician Assistant someday, but hope I can keep dancing for as long as possible until then. 

What is your fondest Neglia memory?

I have so many memories and but one of my fondest ones would have to be the very few times when we would take off our pointe shoes and spend the rest of class talking and listening to Heidi’s stories. (and Sergio’s stories of course) 

What will you miss most about Neglia?

There are so many things, but I am especially going to miss my teachers: Sergio and Heidi, and my friends that I am so used to seeing everyday. It’s amazing because you could be having a horrible day, but when you come to Neglia it’s like a mental switch and you feel so loved and lucky to have incredible people in your life. I can’t wait to come back and visit! 

Will dance continue to be part of your life after graduation?

Yes! I plan on dancing throughout college at Sarasota Ballet School! I would also love to teach someday! 

What was your favorite piece/role to perform at Neglia?

I think my favorite piece to perform would be the Brahms piece ["Symphony in F" choreographed by Heidi Halt - pictured at top], but my favorite role is definitely Flowers! [pictured above] 

List any colleges/programs/companies you've received acceptance to so far:  

I have been accepted to: Sarasota Ballet’s Summer Intensive and year round program with their school, Florida State University, University of South Florida, Loyola University at Chicago, Southeastern University, SUNY University of Buffalo, The Catholic University of America, The University of Arizona, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and SUNY Purchase College. I am so excited to be attending University of South Florida with a major in Health Sciences while dancing at Sarasota Ballet’s School! 

MAGGIE at 2020 Prix de Lausanne, Switzerland

photo by Gregory Batardon

Maggie Weatherdon

From which academic school are you graduating?

I am graduating from Grimsby Secondary School in Ontario, Canada

When did you start studying at Neglia?

I started studying at Neglia full time in 2014 when when I was 12.

What, generally, are your post-high school plans and goals?

My post-high school plans include ballet. My goal is to eventually be dancing in a ballet company and my dream is to be dancing in Europe. I also want to continue my education and eventually earn a degree.

What is your fondest Neglia memory?

I have so many fond memories from Neglia, but my favorite one would have to be from the first class I took with Sergio. It was the first summer program that I had attended and my first real introduction to ballet. I had taken ballet classes all of my life, but I always hated it and I thought it was so rigid and boring. That is until my first class with Sergio. We were at the old studio and we were in the makeshift 3rd room way down at the end of the hall. We all took our spots at the barre and Sergio started to explain the step. I remember thinking this is not what I’m used to. Then after a couple of steps at the barre Sergio noticed me and gave me a correction that I will remember forever. “You have to dance!”. He then started to explain what he meant and that ballet is not supposed to be stiff, it is all about movement. He explained and demonstrated with a passion that was nothing like my previous experiences with ballet could match. I remember thinking to myself after that class “hey, I like ballet!”. I should also mention that I had planned on attending that program for two weeks and ended up staying for 4 weeks. And now here we are 7 years later.

What will you miss most about Neglia?

The things that I will miss most about Neglia are my amazing friends, the gorgeous studios and Heidi and Sergio. I’m going to miss the silliness in the dressing room, our group talks with Heidi, and Sergio’s crazy stories. I’m going to miss all of the things that make Neglia so unique, but I’m going to miss most of all the one of a kind ballet training and constant support that Neglia provides.

Will dance continue to be part of your life after graduation?

Dance will forever be a part of my life because it is what I love to do and I couldn’t imagine a world without it. I plan on joining a ballet company eventually, but even if that doesn’t work out dance will continue to be a part of my life. 

What was your favorite piece/role to perform at Neglia?

I have loved every role and piece that I have done at Neglia, but if I had to choose one it would have to be dancing Flowers in the Nutcracker. I absolutely love the music, the choreography looks really amazing on stage, and it feels so nice to dance. The whole piece goes to the music perfectly and even though I was lucky enough to have danced the Lead Flower last year, I enjoyed dancing in the corps just as much. I also really enjoy contemporary/neoclassical ballet, so all of Heidi’s pieces that I have been able to perform have been really inspiring to me and I very much appreciate her choreography.

List any programs to which you've received acceptance and the program/career path you plan to pursue:

I received a full tuition scholarship to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s aspirant program and I also received an admission scholarship to the Biochemistry Co-op program at the University of Ottawa. I have accepted my offer at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School and plan to move to Winnipeg in the fall. Hopefully this program will help me achieve my dream of becoming a professional ballerina. 

I just want to say how thankful I am for the opportunities that I have been given because I am a student of Neglia.

Neglia Note: Maggie is the first Neglia Conservatory of Ballet student to compete at the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi (June 2018). Following in the footsteps of her mentor Sergio Neglia, Maggie is also the first Neglia Conservatory of Ballet student to compete at the Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland (February 2020)

Maggie in "Albatross" choreographed by Heidi Halt

End of Year Conservatory Performance 2019

photo by Gene Witkowski
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