Thursday, 06 May 2021 14:32

Athletes of the Week: Hannah Barber, Caroline Maloney, and Akhila Venkat

Photos by Susan Blackburn Photography Photos by Susan Blackburn Photography

Congrats to this week’s Athletes of the Week – Hannah Barber, Caroline Maloney, and Akhila Venkat!

Hannah Barber

Hannah is from Saratoga Springs and is in 6th grade. Hannah has been dancing since she could walk, and has been formally enrolled in dance for eight years. 

Hannah has been with her amazing ballet instructors at Saratoga Springs Youth Ballet for over four years, and has continued learning virtually from them. She has performed with the New York City Ballet at SPAC in Coppélia in June 2019. She auditioned and was selected again in 2020 to perform in Swan Lake prior to the COVID-19 cancellation of the performance. Hannah’s dream to perform as Clara in The Nutcracker came true in 2019. 

She has found a silver lining during this pandemic, and has had the opportunity to learn ballet virtually each week from former and current members of the New York City Ballet. She was accepted into ballet summer intensives for 2021 at the School of American Ballet Young Dancer Program, American Ballet Theatre, Ballet Academy East and NYSSA. 

Hannah is also a great student, having made high honor roll for all three quarters. She works hard to achieve her big dreams, and hopes to one day dance at Lincoln Center as a member of the New York City Ballet. 

Caroline Maloney

Caroline is from Wilton. She is 12 years old and in the 7th grade in the South Glens Falls CSD.

Caroline started taking ballet classes at age 7. She performed in the NYCB Coppélia in 2019, and was chosen as an understudy as a gesture for Swan Lake in 2020, although it was cancelled due to COVID. She will be attending the NYSSSA ballet this summer, and was also accepted to the Ballet Academy East’s summer program in the advanced level. 

During the stay-at-home directive, Caroline spent countless hours working hard at ballet and taking virtual classes, including attending five weeks of Ballet Academy East and periodically taking zoom classes with Dena Abergel, Children’s Ballet Master of NYCB.

She also takes her academics very seriously, and has been a high honors student throughout middle school. She also plays violin in the middle school orchestra and is in the school chorus. 

Caroline aspires to be a professional ballet dancer and looks up to her dance teachers – Cristiane Santos, Joan K. Anderson, and Lisa McBride. It has meant so much to her that her teachers formed SSYB, which is where she always wants to be with her dance family. 

Akhila Venkat

Akhila is a 10th grader at Shenendehowa high school. She fell in love with ballet when she took her first lessons at Austin City Ballet when she was four. She enjoyed the opportunity to perform with the NYCB at SPAC. 

When she is not dancing, Akhila loves being outdoors, skiing in the winters and biking in the summers. To de-stress she watches videos and plays the piano. 

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