Junior performs in ‘Little Mermaid’ ballet

Kavanagh poses before an important performance.

Photo Courtesy of Teresa Kavanagh. Used with Permission.

Kavanagh poses before an important performance.

Avery Miller-Dakota, Culture Editor

Most would argue that jellyfish and stingrays belong under the water (down where it’s hotter). Au contraire. Revere native Emily Kavanagh believes they belong on the dance floor. Up on the shore she works all day, out in the sun she slaves away, take it from me. Kavanagh is taking to the stage in an off-Disney, ballet production of The Little Mermaid where she will portray featured roles as both a jellyfish and a stingray.

With three productions spanning across two days (March 11 and 12), The Little Mermaid is the tale of a rebellious sixteen-year-old mermaid who finds fascination with life on land. This thirty-one person production—ages ranging from eight to eighteen—will take place at the Akron Civic Theater.

Recreationally, Kavanagh began dancing at the age of five. It was not until age twelve that Kavanagh began to study true ballet methods. Kavanagh’s mother, Teresa Kavanagh, commented on her daughter’s early dance career.

“[Kavanagh] started dancing for fun at the age of five. She did not start real ballet training until she was twelve. She started ballet training because of the opportunities, the challenges, the difficult technique and to fulfill a passion she has for ballet.,” Mrs. Kavanagh said.

Kavanagh finds sanction at the Nan Klinger Excellence in Dance visual arts studio, which owns the pre-professional ballet company Ballet Excel Ohio (BXO). Kavanagh auditioned for the company and received acceptance at age twelve. Kavanagh’s Artistic Director Mia Klinger detailed the extensive audition process.

“The audition is judged by dance professionals from outside the studio and scoring is ranked. Dancers invited to join BXO as apprentices must agree to participate for a full calendar year. BXO is a demanding responsibility. Dancers must take four to seven ninety-minute classes per week during the school year,” Klinger said.

Former New York City ballet dancer Tom Gold choreographed the ballet specifically for BXO. Auditions were exclusive to members. Elaborating upon her experiences, Kavanagh highlighted the perks associated with being a member.

“Ballet Excel Ohio is one of the top ballet programs in our area. The teachers are amazing and we get a lot of opportunities to work with many known dancers. The kids are also all hardworking and very talented. It is the best place to go if you are striving to be a professional ballet dancer,” Kavanagh said.

Kavanagh spends six days a week on the dance floor averaging a total of thirty hours a week. Kavanagh stated that Saturdays and Sundays are dedicated to rehearsal for actual productions. Kavanagh elaborated, detailing her dedication.

“From doing ballet, I have learned how to manage my time well. I also have learned that if you put dedication in and hard work you can accomplish what you want to achieve. Ballet is very physically demanding. You have to do stuff out of just going to practice like stretching and strengthening,” Kavanagh said.

Taking eleven to thirteen dance classes a week, Kavanagh takes pride in her resume which includes everything from Happy and Paquita to A Christmas Carol and Swan Lake. In regards to The Little Mermaid production, Kavanagh finds that the music “really drives the movement of the dancers.” Mrs. Kavanagh further detailed her daughter’s passion for dance.

“As a mother, watching [Kavanagh] tryout and perform is amazing. I am not allowed to watch the actual tryouts, so I have to sit back and hope that she dances to the best of her ability. Watching her perform leaves me speechless and often brings tears to my eyes, because I am so filled with pride as I watch her do what she truly loves,” Mrs. Kavanagh said.

In January and February, Kavanagh plans to audition for collegiate level dance with hopes of success as a professional. She plans to double major in ballet and education. Short of flooding the joint with sea water and attaching clip-on scuba gear to everyone, The Little Mermaid premieres on March 11 and will show through March 12.