In Milford for over 10 years, First State Dance Academy (FSDA) has become a premier dance school in the state of Delaware, attracting dancers of all ages across the state of Delaware. FSDA Director Michele Xiques has had the opportunity to watch as her students mature in their discipline as they have accepted scholarships, awards and participated in summer and colleges programs over the years. Although talent can be measured through these accomplishments, Xiques finds success as a mentor and teacher when she experiences students making dance a part of their daily lives and their future. FSDA students Anna Edmondson and Ian Boyan are two students that have chosen to pursue the art of dance as a career as they are both currently attending nationally-known ballet schools.
Anna Edmondson, age 16, is a resident of Milford, Delaware. She has recently completed her second year of high school at the Kirov Academy of Ballet of Washington, D.C., known internationally for teaching the classical Vaganova method of ballet instruction, and for training many of top artists in ballet companies around the world. Anna takes academic classes at Kirov, while dancing under the instruction of Madame Marianna Labonova and Artistic Director Madame Adrienne Dellas.
Anna began dancing at age 3, and studied for over ten years at the First State Dance Academy under the direction of Michelle Xiques. She has appeared in productions with Delaware Dance Alliance, including The Nutcracker Ballet, Pirates of the Caribbean, Twilight Ballet and Alice in Wonderland. She has also appeared in numerous productions with Diamond Dance Company, including dancing the roles of Clara and Dewdrop in The Nutcracker Ballet, and has studied at First State Ballet Theatre in Wilmington, Delaware. For two summers, she performed at Burklyn Ballet Theatre in Johnson, Vermont, and was chosen to perform in a production of the Little Mermaid with Burklyn Ballet at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. She is a past recipient of a dance scholarship from the Diane Drulis Foundation, as well as artistic scholarships from Burklyn Ballet Theatre.
Since beginning her studies at Kirov, Anna has performed in several productions, such as A Storybook Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker Ballet. Most recently, she performed a solo variation in Don Quixote. This summer, Anna was selected to attend a six week intensive dance program at the Houston Ballet Academy, prior to returning to Kirov Academy in the fall.
“It’s fun and exciting studying academics and dance at Kirov,” commented Edmondson. “It is fun, exciting and different at Kirov.”
Ian Boyan was born in Aliquippa PA, and raised in the Maryland and Delaware area. He started dancing at 6 years old at Salisbury Studio of Dance. At the age of 11, he trained at The First State Academy of Dance in Milford, DE with Michele Xiques and Val Goncharov. He attended Summer Intensives at American Academy of Ballet, Washington Ballet School and San Francisco Ballet School, all on either full or partial scholarship, before coming to Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School (PBT) on a full tuition scholarship.
Ian has attended the last two years in the Full Time High School Program at PBT. After Graduating from PBT, Ian will be going to San Francisco Ballet Summer Intensive for 4 weeks on a full tuition scholarship, and then will return to PBT to take part in the Grad Program on a full tuition scholarship. Ian’s vision for the future is to become a professional dancer and travel, with aspirations of dancing in Europe.
“Dance takes constant dedication and I enjoy the excitement you get on stage,” commented Boyle. “I am looking to become a professional dancer and hope that my performances can bring joy into the lives of others.”
Back in Milford from their ballet schools for summer break, the two dancers have revisited First State Dance Academy for more training and assistance from FSDA Director Michele Xiques. She acknowledges that there are several important factors in Anna and Ian’s success including their training, their passion and desire to dance, family support and their natural talents and abilities.
“They have gotten stronger and better over the years because of the amount of classes they are able to take per day and week, they are getting excellent training by experienced teachers, and they have the competition from other great dancers that can push them even more,” commented Xiques. “I hope that they can fulfill their dreams and hopes with whatever they choose to accomplish.”