In this week’s Wonderkid Wednesday article, GYS caught up with 11-year-old dance prodigy Zoe Arora to talk about her accomplishments and aspirations for the future.
Zoe, who lives in Dubai and is a student at DIA Emirates Hills, recently passed her Grade 4 ballet exam with distinction and received a ballet scholarship from her dance school, StepUp Academy.
As someone who has been dancing since the age of three, Zoe already has a fair amount of experience behind her, and she told GYS her memories of falling in love with ballet at such a young age:
“I love to dance,” she said. “When I was younger I was really shy, so my mom put me in my first ballet class.
“Since then I’ve learned how to express myself in ways without talking.”
But all her passion, Zoe admits, would be nothing without hard-work and determination:
“I train seven hours a week,” she revealed. “I do ballet for three hours, pointe for one, inter foundation for one and do two hours of lyrical classes.
“You have to be committed and have passion for what you’re doing; even if you train seven hours a week you still have to practice at home – you won’t be perfect after a day.”
Her dedication has been worth it; achieving a distinction at Grade 4 and being awarded a scholarship with StepUp Academy clearly means the world to Zoe.
She said: “I couldn’t believe I got a ballet scholarship it makes me feel amazing.
“And I was so happy after getting distinction in my Grade 4 ballet exam, I had practiced as much as I could.”
This year alone, Zoe has had the opportunity to don some incredible costumes and perform some famous dances:
“At the end of June we had our dance show,” she said. “The theme was ‘showstoppers’ and I got to perform in three different dances.
“In ‘Cats’ I played a white cat and got lifted into the splits; we all played the same character in ‘Black Birds’ but we wore these pretty black dresses with bright red bows.
“Last but not least, I performed in ‘Swan Lake’; it was a pretty dance and we wore these white tutus.”
So, having achieved so much already, and with a strong focus and determination, just how far can Zoe go in the world of ballet? Whilst nothing is certain, it’s clear she’s aiming high:
“When I’m older I want to be a professional dancer at the New York City Ballet School, as well as perform at the opera and I want to teach ballet,” she said.
It’ll be tough to reach that level, but Zoe as already shown she has the passion, determination and skill to make it possible.