NewsPositively Hampton Roads


Local high school senior gives free ballet lessons to young students

Posted at 6:13 PM, Nov 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-12 18:13:44-05

NORFOLK, Va. - Ballet has been a big part of Juliet Lancey’s life since she was four.

But when she’s at Tidewater Park Elementary School, she’s the teacher.

Juliet Lancey is surprised with her News 3 People Taking Action award

“We’re not all super flexible from birth, so just watching them really reach to touch their toes and to have that kind of tenaciousness is awesome and it's inspiring," Juliet told us.

She met many of these budding ballerinas while volunteering at the Norfolk school with Norfolk Academy’s literacy program.

“I just love hanging out with these girls. I learn so much from them every day," she said.

She wanted to do more.

“It just kind of occurred to me that it might not be a possibility for all girls to have access to an arts education," Juliet said.

“She set up a lesson plan, she brought it to me and we’ve been going ever since," said Antoinea Staton, the after-school program director.

That was nearly three years ago, and every Monday that's likely where you’ll find the Norfolk Academy senior.

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“When she walks in the room, all the girls’ faces light up.”

And it's not just about pirouettes and pointed toes.

“We all talk about things that we do in school, she tells us about her life. We tell her about things that we like to do and stuff she likes to do," says one of her students.

She wanted to outfit them with leotards and ballet shoes, but the program has no money. So, Juliet was looking into taking money out of her college savings fund.

After our visit, she may not have to. We surprised Juliet with a People Taking Action award and a $300 gift card from our community partner, Southern Bank.

“It's really exciting to see them grow and develop as artists and have a space to do that in," Juliet said after receiving her award.

A space and a teacher who’s willing to put in the time to help nurture a group of budding ballerinas.

Do you know someone who's worthy of a People Taking Action award? Click here to nominate them!