Cary Ballet Student Makes National Finals

Cary, NC – Cary is a hotbed for dance, with multiple high-level ballet studios and classes. And one of those students has gone on to be one of only a handful of young dancers to become a National YoungArts Foundation finalist.


National Finalist

Maddie Goodman is a student in the Cary Ballet Conservatory‘s (CBC) Professional Training Program and was announced as a finalist in the National YoungArts Foundation and will perform at the foundation’s 36th annual competition in Miami, Florida starting Sunday, January 8, 2017.

When Goodman learned she was one of only 25 dancers nationwide to be named a finalist, she said she was nervous but very happy.

“I was really excited. I wasn’t shocked but I didn’t think I would be selected,” Goodman said.

Goodman worked closely with the teachers at CBC, with Professional Training Program Director Mariaelena Ruiz choreographing her classical performance for the competition and CBC’s Jazz Director Yaqshaan Medan working with Goodman on her contemporary dance. Goodman originally came to CBC from her home in New Bern because she knew Ruiz’s reputation.

“It’s a great opportunity for anyone who wants to be professional,” Goodman said. “Cary Ballet is at a very high level and we have guys in the program too so we get to do partnering. It’s a small program so you can get attention but they want it to grow.”


 Professional Level

Goodman’s interest in ballet started when she was five, after trying gymnastics along with her sisters. After a while, Goodman’s habit of walking on her toes made her parents think she’d be a better fit for ballet and Goodman said she’s loved it ever since. For many years, Goodman studied at a ballet school in New Bern.

“Last year, it closed so I needed something new and more professional,” she said. “I wanted to come to Cary Ballet and try it out because I heard fabulous things about the teachers.”

Through CBC and the Professional Training Program, Goodman said she has been able to get more opportunities in dance. She has been accepted to the School of American Ballet and the Rock School for Dance Education and the students at CBC are currently preparing for the Youth American Grand Prix through choreography from Ruiz. The Youth American Grand Prix is the largest international youth dance competition.

For Goodman, she said her goal is to be a part of the New York Ballet and is working on developing her style to meet that.

“I like the classical ballet the most but my dream is to do New York Ballet so I need to have a balanced style,” she said. “One of my favorites to perform is the Aurora Variation (from Sleeping Beauty) and that’s what I performed to become a finalist.”

The National YoungArts Foundation finals takes place from Sunday, January 8 to Sunday, January 15 in Miami, Florida. Past winners in dance include Desmond Richardson and Gaby Diaz.


Story by Michael Papich. Photos by Brooke Meyer.