According to the rising American Indie rock band Walk the Moon, dancing is something you just shut up and do. A casual combination of mindless and simple arm movements and foot patterns. A way for us to let loose and to have fun. A mere activity to pass the time, or lift our spirits. But for EHS senior KellyAnn Bonanno, dancing is so much more. In fact, it is her life. Being enrolled in her first dance lesson at the age of two, KellyAnn knew from the very beginning that this fine art was something she wanted to pursue for the rest of her life. She drew inspiration from videos of professional ballerinas, aspiring one day to be just like them: and she knew exactly what it would take to get there.
Many teenagers turning eighteen have a vision for how their biggest birthday yet will go. The big “one-eight” is a day spent basking in the glory of legality, maybe even with the purchase of a lottery ticket or two. But for KellyAnn, turning eighteen just meant spending another day at the place she calls home: the stage. Performing her final recital with Scarsdale Dance Studio last Saturday, June 13th, KellyAnn was able to celebrate a milestone in her life doing what she loves the most, and showing all who were present the true beauty that blossoms out of passion and talent.
KellyAnn wowed us with her brilliance as she conquered the stage with absolute grace, with each move, though calculated, executed with a certain elegance only a true ballerina can possess. KellyAnn left the crowd in awe as she danced her solo, "Sleeping Beauty Fairy of the Golden Vine." Wearing a gorgeous red tutu, it was evident how wholly KellyAnn loves what she does, performing with a permanent smile that lit up the stage bright enough to ignite the passion within all who were there. “I think I was able to display just how much hard work I've put into ballet over the past 14 years,” she shares, “it was a perfect way to end my experience here at SBS.” KellyAnn also speaks fondly of one of the final pieces of the show entitled “Carousel,” which she danced with her fellow senior ballerinas and her instructor Simon Kazantsev. She owes much of her success as a ballerina to Simon who taught her to never settle, always pushing her to go the extra mile to do another pirouette, or hold her leg up longer, all because he believed in her excellence.
Though KellyAnn is now one of the brightest stars Eastchester has to offer the world, of course, it took a lot for her to get to this point. Early on in her dancing career, KellyAnn learned just how much discipline, motivation, drive, and time management would go into mastering the art of ballet, while also maintaining a successful student life. Though finding the balance between schoolwork, after school activities, and rehearsals posed as quite the struggle many a time, it was nothing KellyAnn couldn’t handle. Because of her busy and often overlapping schedule, she jokingly describes herself as “quite the pro at changing from regular street clothes to a leotard and bun in the car.” All throughout high school, her jam packed everyday routine left absolutely no room for procrastination: she always strived to complete schoolwork in between classes and any downtime she had at rehearsals.
After fourteen years of dancing, KellyAnn has reached the pre-professional level and plans to continue dancing at Elon University in the fall, and the rest of her life, until her legs give up on her. She has made it this far, but she knows that there is so much left to learn. “There is so much more to dance than technique; there is anatomy, dance in business, and of course the many, many styles of dance that take a lifetime to learn. College can teach us all of this and give us a well rounded education in dance. If you love the art, all you want to do is learn more and more about it, and immerse yourself into it, which, of course, is hopefully what I'll be doing!”
Graduating next Friday, June 26th, as part of the Top Ten Percent of the Eastchester High School Class of 2015, KellyAnn is the perfect role model for those who aspire to pursue a passion outside of school in addition to being a good student. Whether it be in the dance studio, on stage, or in the classroom, KellyAnn has displayed an incredible diligence that has allowed her to achieve success in all of aspects of her life, and will guarantee her the same success in all of her future endeavors. The best of luck to her as she dances her way into this new and exciting chapter of her story!