Professional ballet dancer is June’s Meet The Artist

By Logan A. White
Times-News correspondent

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Francisco Schilereff is June's Meet The Artist. [Brooke Meyer Photography

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the final Meet The Artist feature by Teens & 20s writer, Logan A. White.
June’s featured artist is Francisco Schilereff, a 19-year-old Argentinian ballet dancer.
He moved to North Carolina two years ago to join Cary Ballet Conservatory’s professional training program and has achieved great artistic success. He was the fourth place men’s finalist at the 2019 American Dance Competition and one of the top 20 male finalists at Youth America Grand Prix. Francisco will be joining Miami City Ballet this fall to begin his professional career.
Teens & 20s: What inspires you most as an artist?
Schilereff: What inspires me the most is someday being able to work doing what I love the most, and knowing that I have my family behind me, supporting me and trying to make all of my dreams come true.
Teens & 20s: When do you feel you made the transition from hobby to passion?
Schilereff: When I was 13 years old, I moved from a little city to Buenos Aires. Going from being the only male ballet dancer in my city to seeing incredibly trained professionals made me realized that I wanted to be as good as them. That’s when I finally started ballet, when I decided “I don’t want to do anything else more than this, to be a ballet dancer.”
Teens & 20s: What other form of art have you always wanted to try?
Schilereff: My mom used to be part of a chorus before I was born, she was the one that gave me a connection with music. I think that’s why I always enjoyed singing a lot … I also joined a chorus when I was young and got to play some roles as a singer back in Argentina.
Teens & 20s: What message do you want to spread through dance?
Schilereff: Every time I get to perform, I try to express how good it feels to be able to do what I love, and try to demonstrate how much joy I feel.
Teens & 20s: What do you think is the most common misconception about ballet?
Schilereff: People assume that ballet is an easy career by judging a performance, without knowing how many hours we spend trying to improve, and how much effort it is for us. We give up our social life so that we are able to have enough time to train to get ready for that single performance.
   Teens & 20s: If you weren’t a dancer, what career or passion would you pursue?
   Schilereff: I don’t exactly know what I would do if I couldn’t dance, but I probably would do something related to dance, like teaching or choreographing.
   Teens & 20s: How do you think the arts are perceived differently in today’s society?
   Schilereff: It depends on which society we’re talking about. One of the things that surprised me when I first came to the United States was seeing how people support art, and how many companies there are in so many states around this country. On the other hand, in Argentina we don’t have that many options. The entire country only has a few companies that the government aren’t really supporting. They are only able to do a few shows every season.
Teens & 20s: Anything else you’d like to add?
Schilereff: I always feel so lucky with everything that is happening to me. Having my family supporting me, knowing that there are people who are helping develop my career. I’m so thankful for everything that is happening in my life, and the possibility to keep growing as a dancer.
If you want to know more about Francisco’s journey, follow him @fschilereff on Instagram.

Logan A. White is a Teens & 20s writer and a home-schooled high school graduate. She currently trains in Cary Ballet Conservatory’s professional program.

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