Sussex County Ballet Dancer Heading to Russia - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Sussex County Ballet Dancer Heading to Russia

Sara Clem (Photo: WBOC) Sara Clem (Photo: WBOC)

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del.- Delmarva has its very own dancing star, and now she has been invited to train at the world famous Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Russia. But, it takes a lot to get there, including practice, auditions and money.

Seventeen-year-old Cape Henlopen High School graduate Sara Clem lives of Lewes can flawlessly perform difficult dance techniques.

"It's a lot of sweat, tears, a lot of intensity," she said while out of breath at her studio in Rehoboth Beach's Midway Shopping Center. "It's definitely not what everyone expects, but it's beautiful and I'm completely in love with ballet."

Sara may have been born to dance, but she did not start classical ballet until age 14. Typically, ballet dancers start at age 5.

"She knew little very little and she came crying to me the first day after her first summer day and she said, 'Mom I can't do it, I don't know anything,'" said Sara's mother, Susan Clem.

Three years later Sara is confident. She is one of only five Americans selected to train with the Bolshoi Ballet Academy. Bolshoi means big and everything about the reaction to Sara going there is oversized.

"I doubled up on my credits as a junior so I could graduate high school a year early to have this experience and dance," she said.

For two weeks this summer, Sara was in Moscow while training with the Joffery Ballet, based out of New York City.  That was when Bolshoi asked her to become a part of its year-round training program.

Sarah lives with her parents, Bill and Susan, have been behind her every step of the way. Bill sits in a wheelchair, left semi-paralyzed from a stroke almost three years ago.

"It's hard for me to leave him just for the day but I think it wIll be worth it," Sara said, adding she will miss her family the most while in Russia.

Her dad said he will miss her as well. 

"It is a burden on our finances, other than that just the fact that she's not going to be here," he said.

One year at Bolshoi will cost the family $22,000.

"It just all seems to be falling into place and I think God will bless us and we will get her to Russia somehow," said Sara's mother.

For a once in a lifetime opportunity, it is not just Sara who is taking a leap of faith.

Sara leaves for Russia on Oct. 13. An account has been set up through PNC Bank under Sara Clem's name to donate.   

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