Off to the stages: BCPS graduates pursue professional dance


Just as the graduation caps came off, the costumes and makeup came on for 13 new BCPS alumni with plans to pursue professional dance. However, before the curtains open for the dancers' big breaks, let's take a backstage look at what's in store this summer and fall for these graduates.

In a class of his own, Michael West of George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology will return to Tennessee on scholarship this summer for a stint with Nashville Ballet, the state's largest professional ballet company. Then, in the fall, he will take on an apprenticeship, allowing him to train for a future career alongside dancers from around the world.
Preparing, too, for their careers to launch are the remaining 12 dancers, who will attend colleges and universities in five states this fall.


A stone's throw away, Madison Bonaparte of Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts, Stephanie Ford of Dulaney High School and Anna Gibeck of Carver Center will pursue degrees in dance at Coppin State University, Towson University and the Community College of Baltimore County's Essex campus, respectively.

Traveling with a study buddy, Raven Sampson and Antonio Wright of Carver Center will join approximately 2,100 undergraduates at the University of the Arts in Pennsylvania.

Moving further north, New York will become a home-away-from-home for one Carver Center dancer. Amarachi Korie is set to start her education at Fordham University, where she is enrolled in its Ailey School for American Dance Theater. Korie is also a Gates Millennium Scholar, one of 1,000 students nationwide who received a full scholarship to a college or university of their choice from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Five dancers will relocate south to Virginia to continue their studies. Alyssa Baker and Taylor Diggs of Carver Center will double-major at Virginia Commonwealth University. Another intended double-major and Carver Center graduate, Erika Malkus will attend James Madison University, while Jasmine Jackson of Patapsco High will attend Shenandoah University. Kelly Strucko of Herford High School intends to major in international studies to fulfill her dream of working for the Central Intelligence Agency but will dance with Roanoke University's dance team in the fall.

In a dorm nearly 1,500 miles from Baltimore will live the thirteenth dancer, Victoria Norwood of Carver Center. A student of the University of Houston's School of Theater and Dance, Norwood will work toward earning a bachelor's degree in dance.
A few jumps, leaps and turns away from seeing their names in lights, these dancers are well on their ways to thriving careers in the performing arts. As they move forward with further education and practice this summer and fall, Team BCPS wishes the dancers the best of luck and anticipates their continued success in the years to come!

Story by Blake Lubinski, intern, Department of Communications and Community Outreach, with the help of Sonia Synkowski, dance resource teacher, Office of Music and Dance Education. Photos by Anthony Littlejohn, photographer.
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