Jennifer Francisty will be dancing in front of her home audience as part of the inaugural performance of Coastal City Ballet.
The 19-year-old Maple Ridge dancer started with the fledgling ballet company this fall, after spending several years at local and Lower Mainland dance schools.
Francisty said she's feeling "excited" about performing in front of her home audience at The ACT. The last time she danced in that forum was when she performed in The Nutcracker with the Royal City Youth Ballet.
Francisty started dancing when she was about five
"My mom just put me in [because] she wanted me to be confident," Francisty recalled.
At first she danced hip hop, jazz, Polynesian - she didn't start ballet until she was 12.
It was recommended she do ballet to learn technique, because "ballet is the base of everything."
"Every dance style is drawn from ballet," Francisty explained.
That got her hooked.
"You can never stop learning - something is new every day," she said.
Francisty was with Pacific Dance Arts last year and this year was accepted to Coastal, a company that started this fall.
Following a rigorous audition process, the Maple Ridge teen was accepted in early fall, joining 14 other dancers from around the globe. It's a move she believes takes her one step closer to a career performing on the professional stage.
Francisty describes the company as a "bridge" between a school and a professional ballet company.
Everyone is really driven and ambitious in the program, Francisty said, but they are also all good friends. The dancers are between the ages of 19 and 22, and all are trying to get into professional companies.
Francisty has set her sights on getting into a European company as the demand for dancers is much higher on the other side of the Atlantic, she said.
Her family is originally from Slovakia and she goes to visit once in a while. She recently had the chance to take a two-day ballet class with a company in Bratislava.
Coastal City Ballet is presenting their inaugural performance of Paquita & Mixed Repertoire, at 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 18 at The ACT, 11944 Haney Place.
Tickets are $32 for adults, $20 for seniors and students, and available online at www.theactmapleridge.org, or by calling the ACT ticket centre at 604-476-2787.
Anchoring Friday night's performance will be selections from Petipa's Paquita, staged by Joy Munk, and former Houston Ballet artistic director and current Texas Ballet Theatre artistic director Ben Stevenson's Three Preludes, set to music by Rachmaninov.
Also on the bill is new work from Charlene Hart, a Top Ten Finalist in season three of So You Think You Can Dance Canada, Farley Johansson, celebrated local dancer/choreographer and co-artistic director of Science Friction, and Coastal City Ballet artistic director Li Yaming.