Student Spotlight: Barbara Ballico |

Student Spotlight: Barbara Ballico

Barbara Ballico, a 17-year-old Italian exchange student from Italy, is attending Roaring Fork High School and dancing at her host family's Carbondale studio, Coredination.
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Barbara Ballico has been dancing since she was 11, but this is the first year she’s danced in America.

The 17-year-old Italian exchange student is performing on Saturday in Coredination and Bonedale Ballet’s “Dance Celebrations and Nutcracker Variations” show. Coredination directors Anthony and Alexandra Jerkunica are also serving as Ballico’s host family for her 10 months in the States.

Ballico spoke to the Post Independent about what styles of dance she studies, what she’ll be dancing in this weekend’s performance and why she loves dance.

Post Independent: How long have you been in the U.S.? How are you liking it?

Barbara Ballico: I arrived on the 23rd of August, and I stay here 10 months. It’s my dream. It’s so different from my country. It was hard at the beginning when I arrived here because it’s all change. But I like it. It’s different, but I like it.

PI: When did you start dancing?

BB: It’s been my passion since I was born, but my parents were too busy to bring me, and so I started when I was 11 years old. I’ve danced for six years.

PI: How do you like dancing at Coredination?

BB: It’s [Alexandra and Anthony’s] passion, too, so they have a ballet studio, so I dance here. Sometimes I prefer here; I prefer Alexandra and Anthony when they teach because they have a different technique. They show you the exercise, and they correct you — like your feet or hands — if there is something wrong. And in Italy, not all schools do this. They don’t correct you.

PI: What will you be dancing this weekend?

BB: I’ll do three ballet. One in “Nutcracker,” and I dance with Anthony, and I do Arabian. One, it’s from Christina [Akers, a teacher at Coredination], and I dance with three others — two girls and Anthony. And the other is by Alexandra. When I was younger, my first performance was “The Nutcracker,” and I did Chinese.

PI: What kinds of dance do you study?

BB: Here I do ballet, but in Italy I do ballet and lyrical. It’s like expression of your body. It isn’t modern; it’s between modern and ballet. Ballet I like because it’s elegant, and you must stay so strong to dance this. And the other, I like the movement because when I dance in lyrical, I don’t think about if I have problems outside. I think only about what I’m doing; I don’t think about anything else.

PI: Do you like performing?

BB: It makes me nervous, but I like it. Here, not too much because I don’t have people that come to see me like my friends or my boyfriend or my parents in Italy. [Alexandra and Anthony] know what I do, and so for them it’s normal. But I like it. It’s positive because if I do something wrong, nobody knows me yet.

PI: What do you love about dancing in Carbondale?

BB: I like this dance studio because it’s small, but I think Alexandra and Anthony are so great for teaching ballet because I see that it’s their passion, and they would like to transmit their passion to other people, and they would like that other people love ballet. They do this work because they love it, and I think it’s a good thing.

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