Oakdale High School freshman Anthony Reynoso won’t be found making his mark on the baseball diamond of OHS, nor will he be found on the track or tennis court.
While many of his friends and peers spend their post classroom time practicing and perfecting their sport on campus, Anthony can be found getting in his grind at Juline School of Dance.
Now in his seventh year as a dancer, the 15-year-old describes himself as the kid who was sitting at home with nothing to do, prior to joining the Juline dance family.
The young dancer shared at the encouragement of his mother he gave baseball a try, but didn’t find that as a fit. Recognizing a love for music and movement he turned to Juline’s and gave ballet and tap a try. He now dances six days a week, Monday through Saturday, as well as performs with Juline Regional Youth Ballet where he is a third year senior company member.
“The studio pushed me a lot,” the dancer said of his growth, acknowledging his self-doubt early on and the benefits of staff and peers who recognized his talent.
“By my third year they told me I was ready for the pre-professional group (JRYB),” he added.
As result of his support and training the summer of 2016 is proving to be one of promise and opportunity for the OHS freshman. The dedicated dancer recently received word that he will attend the San Francisco Ballet School’s three week summer session on a full tuition scholarship.
“People come from all over to audition,” mom Catherine Rhee said of the SFBS scholarship. “This scholarship was a big deal, we did not expect it.”
SFBS summer session scholarships are not awarded based on application or financial need, they are extended to dancers who the panel sees potential in and choose to contribute to their growth as dancers.
“When you go it’s to audition for the school,” Catherine continued. “There’s no box to check for scholarship.”
Both dancer and mother attribute much of his growth and success to the training and support of Juline School of Dance and his involvement with JRYB.
JRYB Artistic Director David Arce brings an impressive résumé which benefits the 29 pre-professional company dancers. Prior to joining Juline in 2010 he performed throughout the world including a 12-year run with the San Francisco Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet.
JRYB is under the umbrella of the Juline Foundation for Children, a not for profit founded in memory of school Founder and Director Juline Schmitz. Their mission is to provide all children in the community who have a desire to perform and be self-expressive, the opportunity to do so through dance. The Juline Foundation for Children consists of three programs: The Outreach Program, The Juline Juniors Dance Program and The Juline Regional Youth Ballet Program.
“I love just moving to music,” Anthony said of his love and commitment to dance. “I also love looking at other people dancing. I think I just love dance so much because … really, it’s just hard to explain.”
Just as a baseball player struggles with defining a love for the game or a pianist describing their connection to music, so too does this dancer.
As for the rigor of his high school class load and his 20-plus hour week of studio time perfecting his craft, the freshman has conquered that as well.
“I’d have to say lunch,” Anthony said of his favorite class period at OHS, “so I do my homework and go to bed at a normal time.”
As for the ‘dancer’ stereotype, the veteran dancer recognizes that some lack an appreciation for what a dancer can do.
“That it’s not athletic and it’s not as hard as it really is,” he said of the misconceptions about athleticism required of the ballet dancer. “You spend years doing all these things to your body. It’s not that easy.
“I see myself as a company member at San Francisco Ballet,” he said of his future plans, post-graduation, “to be an apprentice or company member there.”