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Alameda dancer needs $20K to attend Bolshoi

A 19-year-old Alameda dancer needs $20,000 to attend the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow.

July 14, 2010 7:42:46 PM PDT
An East Bay dancer is getting the chance of a lifetime. He has been accepted at the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow for the fall semester. Now, all Mario Vitale Labrador needs is the money to make it possible.

Dance is his destiny and an extension of his being. Something magical happens when Vitalie Labrador hears music.

The 19-year-old from Alameda knew a week after he began lessons at age 10, that dance would be his life.

"I just started to discover the music and the way you can move, you can transcend into a role," says Vitale Labrador.

He's performed with the Oakland Ballet and Diablo Ballet. He is always working, learning, and pushing himself. Instructor Jenna McClintock says Mario can make even a pedestrian move interesting.

"He has this genius sort of element to his thinking. A way of approaching his physicality," says McClintock.

It is something you're born with, she says. For Mario, dance is all consuming.

"I find myself dancing in my bedroom right before I go to sleep. Anywhere, anytime, even in the park," says Vitale Labrador.

On a lark, he applied to the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Russia. For more than 230 years, it has set the world standard and he was accepted for fall classes.

"It was a real shock, like how did this happen?" says Vitale Labrador.

Bolshoi is exacting, demanding, and disciplined. He'll learn dance and Russian.

The Bolshoi Ballet Academy has earned an international reputation as one of the best dance training facilities in the world. Now all Mario needs to fulfill his dream to get there is $20,000 for tuition and expenses.

To raise money, he started a website. His mom has sent out hundreds of letters to friends. Nothing can stop his dream.

"It's something I want so much there's no room for me to doubt it," says Vitale Labrador.

If you would like to make a contribution for Mario Vitale Labrador's enrollment in the Bolshoi, click on the link above.


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