Positively Vermont: Farm to Ballet
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Dennis McMahon, Esq. speaks with guests Celia DeVoe and Maria Mercieca about ballet in Vermont, and specifically about Farm to Ballet.
For a video about the Farm to Ballet program: https://youtu.be/CimsENqI90g
DeVoe is a demi-soloist joining Farm to Ballet for her first summer season. She is also a member of Ballet Vermont. She recently moved here from Colorado where she received her Master’s Degree in Somatic Counseling Psychology with a focus in Dance/Movement Therapy from Naropa University. After a deeply impactful experience working at the Children’s Hospital in Colorado and being awarded her license as a Professional Counselor, she and her boyfriend enthusiastically made their journey back east where they reside in Colchester.
Originally from Roslyn Heights, NY, she is the youngest and only daughter of four children, and grew up studying at the American Theater Dance Workshop and Eglesvky Ballet on Long Island, NY. She earned her BA in Dance and a minor in Education from Marymount Manhattan College and then performed with a number of different choreographers including Andrea Gise, Julian Barnett, Yung-Li Chen, Ofelia Loret de Mola and Beth Jucovy. She has been involved in a number of multimedia productions and site-specific works, including SNAP, a dance film by Andrea Gise that was internationally premiered at multiple dance film festivals since 2006.
Her career as a performing artist has also allowed her the joy of teaching dance to students of all ages and she also obtained certifications in Gyrotonic(R), Gyrokinesis(R), Reiki, Thai Massage and her license as a Somatic Therapist. “Over the years, I have become increasingly more connected to the Earth, to its natural rhythms and cycles. There is something deeply inspiring and satisfying about bringing my love of movement back to the place where it truly began and I believe that sharing this wisdom, and bringing audiences back to the Earth is tremendously important, especially in a world where we can be so disconnected from each other and the land.”
Mercieca is a soloist returning to Farm to Ballet for a third summer season. She is also a soloist with Ballet Vermont and appears in Bees & Friends. She has danced the roles of a naughty tomato, strawberry, goose, lettuce, remay dancer, and maple tree. Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, she moved to the United States when she was 6 years old, living in the suburbs of New York City. After attending Pace University in Pleasantville, NY, she moved to Vermont in 2003 and now lives in Shelburne with her husband and two young daughters.
She began dancing at age five, “quickly going from class clown to the most serious student in class,” she recalls. She has trained with Hilda Morales and Vladimir Dokoudovsky, and at age ten became a full-time student at Joffrey Ballet School and stayed there until her freshman year in high school when she attended North Carolina School of the Arts full-time. She then shifted gears, leaving the ballet world for twenty-five years, not to return until 2015 when she began taking classes with Chatch. “I absolutely love the summers in Vermont and there is nothing lovelier than doing what you love while feeling the breeze on your hair, witnessing a stunning sunset off stage right, hearing a real cow mooing while a ballerina cow prances. It's truly magical!”
She says that one of the most rewarding parts of her involvement with this close-knit dance community is the friendships she has made: "I think it's important to offer all people an opportunity to experience live ballet performances, including children of all ages and children of all attention-spans! Not all kids can sit quietly in a theater, so many parents shy away from exposing young children to dance, but our casual picnic-style setting is the perfect chance to introduce your energetic kids to the ballet culture.” In addition to being a full-time mom, Maria is also a LuLaRoe retailer and freelance writer. She is grateful to her husband for giving her the freedom and support to follow her dreams.