COLORADO SPRINGS — 6 days a week, Simone Gibson gives up her free time away from school and friends to intensively rehearse for ballet. To her, the sport is a way of life she hopes to continue as a career.
"Simone is one of those students that as soon as you walk in the room, you feel her focus," said the Artistic Director for Colorado Ballet Society Kate Walsh.
Simone has been dancing for 8 years and is just as passionate as the day she started.
"I think the main reason why I do this is to perform. I like giving a connection to the audience while I'm dancing without, you know, talking and stuff like that," said Simone.
Simone's parents Charles and Catherine say that they act as an entourage of sorts for their daughter. Between school, homework, and free time, they make it work.
"It's a total family commitment, but we're all in. We knew as soon as she was committed, we were all in. It's work, it's school, it's dance," said Charles Gibson. "It makes me want to cry every time I see her perform on stage".
Simone's hard work is paying off. She recently won first place in the Ester Geoffery masterclass competition and a full scholarship to the Joffrey Summer Intensive.
"Simone is just one of those dancers that you see her and you know she just has it. She just has that star quality," said Walsh.
Several other dancers I spoke with mentioned their favorite thing about their passion.
"So for me, ballet is all about performing," said Sophie Unsell.
"Being up on stage brings that adrenaline and happiness that I can't get anywhere else in my life," said Claire Cinocotta
"It just makes me so happy, it's the joy in my life," said Evelyn Gohl.
Walsh stresses the importance that ballet can have in young girls' lives. She says that they don't have to dream of becoming a professional dancer to gain something from their time.
"I've learned to be able to take a break," said Evelyn.
"There are some days where I'm just tired and don't really feel like coming, but as soon as I come and I'm with my friends I feel great," said Sophie.
Simone still has a long way to go before heading to her dream destination of New York City. But for now, she's okay enjoying the small things along the way.
"This is gonna be my life, and I enjoy it, and these years are really gonna help me be successful," said Simone.
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