Photos: Blossoming bunheads

For 10 days, Daily photographer Lauren Rock followed Chautauqua School of Dance Workshop II students, ages 13-15, through their classes and final Amphitheater performance to document the commitment and discipline required of a young ballerina.

“These girls are very young, but they are serious about dance,” Rock said. “Attending the School of Dance is one small step on their journey to becoming professional ballerinas. They learn to become adaptable — those who can pick up choreography quickly and adapt to different instructors and their styles are more likely to be successful. The dancers learn discipline and the importance of taking care of themselves and working hard to maintain the best physical form possible.”

The final performance on a Sunday afternoon began at 2:30 p.m., but the dancers were at the Amphitheater an hour early, preparing costumes, getting dressed, applying make up, and shaking off their nerves before heading out on stage. Dressed in light blue leotards, the dancers moved swiftly back and forth backstage. Maris Battaglia, School of Dance associate director, wished the girls good luck and said goodbye to those who were leaving Chautauqua immediately after the performance.

Moments later, the ballerinas walked on to the Amp stage for the culmination of five weeks of intense study.

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