Sana Suzuki, Granada Hills Charter Class of 2020, has packed her ballet slippers and moved to Moscow to attend the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, one of the oldest and most respected ballet schools in the world. Suzuki was invited to study full-time at the academy after demonstrating her talent during the Bolshoi Summer Intensive in Connecticut this summer. Her acceptance is a source of long-awaited joy and celebration for Suzuki and her family as Bolshoi is highly selective.
Her ballet lessons began at age 6 and three years later, she was chosen to perform as a child cast member in The Nutcracker by the Joffrey Ballet Chicago held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. Her career as a ballerina continued with performances in downtown Los Angeles with international ballet companies including the French Ballet Preljocaj and the National Ballet of Canada.
“I remember when I started taking ballet lessons. I was a shy girl, but I liked the feeling of being free, expressing my artistic side, and I loved to perform, especially on stage,” says Suzuki of her early career. “The moment I saw a ballet stage performed by Russian dancers for the first time, I fell in love with their artistry, especially with their upper body movements, great fluidity, and presentation of the feet.”
Suzuki started classical Russian-style ballet classes to build and polish techniques, body alignments, and the artistry of dance. By the time she was 12, she had a plan to be accepted by an academy in Russia. In order to obtain this goal, her training and auditioning became more rigorous with practices consuming over three hours per day, seven days per week.
Needing to balance ballet with academics, Suzuki’s family selected the iGranada program at Granada Hills Charter High School. With its flexible scheduling and classes being a blend between online and in-classroom support, iGranada gave Suzuki the individualized attention needed for her non-traditional high school experience.
“iGranada helped me with my ballet schedule. It can get really intense,” says Suzuki. “I can do my schoolwork at the ballet studio or at home. I don’t have to miss anything at school. It blends with my schedule perfectly!”
The culmination of her life-long dream is bittersweet for young Suzuki. “I might struggle with speaking a foreign language, miss my family and friends, my Mom’s cooking, and the sunny weather in LA – for sure!” she says about leaving. “But I will learn and grow as I train in the academy. I am looking forward to taking the next step into a new phase of my life.”