Submitted by Moira Frazier Ostrander

The Bristol Ballet recently honored Emerson Gillispie, senior company member, as the 2021-2022 recipient of the Teresangela Schiano Memorial Fellowship.

Emerson, 15, is in second year at John S. Battle High School, where she has a 4.0 GPA. She has been dancing for six years and loves to participate in all the wonderful opportunities the Bristol Ballet has to offer its dancers.

Some of her favorite roles with Bristol Ballet include Russian and Party Girl in “The Nutcracker” and Goldilocks in “Once Upon a Time”. She also enjoyed dancing in productions of “Cinderella”, “Mulan”, “Alice in Wonderland” and “The Wizard of Oz”. This year, she will dance the role of Clara in “The Nutcracker” with the Bristol Ballet during the company’s live comeback.

“I can’t believe I got the scholarship! I’m so horny – I was shaking when I found out! I am so surprised and grateful. I am incredibly honored to follow in the footsteps of Teresangela and the alumni, ”said Emerson.

Emerson says ballet represents the absolute world to her, and dancing has helped her come out of her shell and be more confident. She attributes influences to Michele Plescia, artistic director of the Bristol Ballet, and the rest of her ballet teachers. She also says her biggest inspiration is Misty Copeland, a principal dancer with the American Ballet Theater, who also started ballet at an older age than some dancers.

The Teresangela Schiano Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually to intermediate / advanced level dancers who are also part of the Bristol Ballet Company. The dancer chosen must be active in the performance and demonstrate skill and dedication to excellence. He or she must possess a desire to progress and grow in the art form; aspirations to dance professionally are not a requirement. The scholarship will cover all costs for the 2021-2022 season. This includes tuition, registration, production fees, summer crash courses, and an allowance for dance shoes and clothing. The fund is capitalized by donations from individuals or companies wishing to perpetuate the art of ballet through the memory of Teresangela.

Teresangela’s untimely death at the age of 33 on March 8, 2014, shocked and saddened a whole community of friends and family. It was their wish to keep her memory alive and to perpetuate the dynamism she had on stage, as well as her love for ballet, by creating the Memorial Scholarship.funds at the Bristol Ballet.Founded in 1948, Bristol Ballet focuses on educating young people in the classical art of ballet through exceptional ballet training and productions for the public.


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