adidas toe shoes Local ballerina following her heart in Belarus

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For years, Riley McGuire dabbled in different sports, but couldnt find something that truly piqued her interest.

But that changed two years ago, when at 14 years of age she attended her first ballet class at Edmunds Towers School of Dance in Windsor. For McGuire, it was truly a game changer. Within no time, she joined the Valentinas School of Ballet in Clawson, Michigan and increased her training of an hour a week to over 30 hours.

I wanted to do something in high school so I thought Id try dance, she said. I actually wanted to try all kinds of dance, but I had read ballet was the foundation of dance. So I thought, Id start there and then move onto the other. But I soon realized I loved ballet and didnt want to try anything else.

As her love of ballet increased, so did her desire to take dancing to a new level. She was accepted for summer dance programs at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet school as well as the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington. She also competed in New York, Indiana and in Chicago. Finally, her big dream came true last year when she was accepted to a three year program at the Belarusian State Choreographic College.

Riley McGuire, 17, is shown at her Windsor home on Wednesday, July 19, 2017. The ballerina dancer recently returned from Belarus where she worked on her craft for a year.

I didnt know what to expect, McGuire, 17, said. But my teacher told me to send my audition tape to Belarus because I really had nothing to lose. So I thought lets just do this. I had no expectations but honestly I was really excited when I got accepted.

Being the only North American at the Belarusian school does come with obstacles. But McGuire doesnt let the challenges deflate her dream. She uses the google translate app on her phone to help her understand the language. And, she has little time to be home sick with her demanding school schedule and training.

Its was very hard at first,
adidas toe shoes Local ballerina following her heart in Belarus
she said. It was hard because of the language barrier and of course a culture shock. It was also hard not being able to talk to people on the level Im used to. Im the only English speaking person at the school.

Riley McGuire, 17, is shown at her Windsor home on Wednesday, July 19, 2017. The ballerina dancer recently returned from Belarus where she worked on her craft for a year.

McGuire plans to audition for a few European dance companies when she graduates in a couple years. As she points out, she now speaks the language and is starting to fall in love with Belarus.

When I started if someone had told me youll be moving to Belarus to a country where no one speaks English and where I didnt know anyone I would never have believed them, she said. So many different opportunities have opened up for me. Its really been a life changing opportunity for me.

But its also been an expensive endeavour with tuition for the school costing $20,000 annually, plus airfare and the pointe shoes costing close to $100 and lasting for only a few weeks.

The mantra around here has always been to follow your dreams and Ill do my best to help support her, said mom Rebel McGuire. Its not easy as a single mom, but Im just so proud of Riley. Shes got more discipline than I have ever had. This really is an amazing opportunity for her and we are all just embracing her decision. epaper, Digital Access, Subscriber Rewards), please input your Print Newspaper subscription phone number and postal code.

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