Local boy chooses between three ballet schools

(WISH Photo/Brett Bensley)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A local 6th grader has been offered a full scholarship to not one, but three summer intensive ballet programs. The 12-year-old stumbled into ballet, but is now leaping into a bright future.

As the music starts playing inside the Indianapolis School of Ballet, 12-year-old Ryan Ward fills with purpose.

“Dance is my home. It’s not physically the building itself or the company, it’s dance itself is my home,” said Ward.

It’s a home the Heritage Christian 6th grader never knew he had until two years ago.

“It was around the time Michael Jackson had died and I had just seen some footage of him dancing on TV and I told my mom, ‘I want to be like that.’ So she enrolled me in hip hop lessons but she told me if you want to be in hip hop lessons, you have to take ballet as well because it’s the basis of all dance.”

Begrudgingly, Ward went, and as he learned to soar, he fell in love.

Ward quit hip hop to focus solely on ballet.

“You must have that internal fire. I think to be a true artist you have to have that,” said ISB Founding Artistic Director, Victoria Lyras.

For Ward it also takes courage, in a sense.

He knows, as a boy, he’s outnumbered in ballet. He also knows his passion not only isn’t appreciated by other boys at school, he says they usually don’t even acknowledge he dances.

But the support system Ward needs, he has at his ballet home.

“It’s very satisfying, just the feeling being able to do what you love every single day,” said Ward.

“We have everything he needs to make it, but then it’s up to him to embrace everything, which I think he will, to embrace the information, to embrace all that’s coming his way in the next four or five years and to grow with it and to soar with it,” said Lyras.

Ward was offered full scholarships to Houston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet and Next Generation Ballet.

He chose to go to Houston because of its great men’s program.

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