Several years of hard work and dedication have earned a Little Britain Township teen the opportunity to dance in Europe for three weeks this summer with an international ballet ensemble.
Chelsea Galos, 15, of Charlestown Drive, Nottingham, left last Friday for Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Twin Lake, Mich. where she will spend a week practicing ballet before leaving for Europe.
"I'm excited just to see the different cultures," said Galos, who has never been to a foreign country before.
Galos, the daughter of Michael and Michelle Lamarca of Nottingham and Patrick Galos of San Diego, Calif., will be a sophomore at Solanco High School in the fall. She was homeschooled last year and has a sister, Jade, who will be a senior.
Two summers ago, Galos, who has been dancing and performing since she was 3 years old with the Oxford Center for Dance, auditioned to participate in Blue Lake's ballet camp "intensives," which are training classes that last between two to eight weeks and have dancers attending classes for up to seven hours a day.
"Chelsea specifically wanted to attend Blue Lake because of its reputation, but also to have the opportunity to audition for their International Exchange Program," said her mother, Michelle Lamarca. "It's quite a rare opportunity and she's getting to know a different culture."
To be accepted into the International Exchange Program, Galos had to demonstrate outstanding ballet technique and was assessed on her ability to represent Blue Lake. She also had to provide written recommendations from her dance teachers and her school.
She is one of about 40 girls from Blue Lake, age 14 to 19, who will be going to Europe. She will be staying with seven different host families during the three-week tour. The tour includes three communities in Germany, one in Denmark and four in France.
"The International Exchange Program has very strict rules and requires that each student spend their time getting to know their host families, communicate with them regarding their culture, and leave them a gift to remember them," said Lamarca.
After she returns from Europe on July 7, Galos will have five days off before she returns to Michigan to embark on a Midwest tour. She will again stay with host families and tour in the Chicago area. On July 15 they will have a homecoming performance at Blue Lake to finish the tour.
"We think it's a great opportunity for her," said her step-father, Michael Lamarca. "It's a once in a lifetime opportunity."
While she was being homeschooled last year, Galos helped teach younger girls at the Oxford Center for Dance. After she graduates from high school, she plans to go to college for dance performance.
"She wants to be a professional dancer and open her own studio someday," said her mother. "She has such a passion for dance."