November 28, 2023

Imagine being a sixteen year-old who travels the world, following your passions, and living life to the fullest. Fletcher Barr – an outstanding dancer who excels in ballet– was living that dream this summer.

He attended Long Beach Ballet, a school in California and traveled with them to China and Japan to participate in the performing of Aladdin.

The trip began in California where the students were constantly learning and rehearsing the dances for an 45 hours a week. Barr met other high school students from all over the United States, who were excellent dancers and great friends to him.

During his spare time, he and all the members were able to visit Los Angeles, go to the beach, and experience Disneyland during Independence Day. Barr said, “It was really exciting living in L.A., it was even better than I expected.”

After a 13 hour plane ride, Barr touched down in Anshan, China. “Walking off the plane,” Barr said, “I immediately realized how different China was.”

While walking down the streets of Anshan, he joked that he felt almost as if he were a celebrity, because nearly everyone was taking pictures and videos of him and his group, because they were not used to seeing American people.

The culture in China was noticeably different than ours in the U.S., Barr mentioned, “The citizens were much quieter in public, the society treated us with extreme gratitude, and interestingly, traffic did not stop as people crossed the streets, instead they drove around us as we walked.”

In China, Barr was able to see the Great Wall, the border of North Korea, and even went bungee jumping in Guangzhou.

After China, he and his ballet school departed to Japan. Although his stay in Japan was short, he experienced life aboard a cruise ship, stopped at many beaches, and performed for audiences on the cruise ship.

Fletcher Barr’s trip overseas demonstrates the versatility of ballet, and how it connects cultures, countries, and defies stereotypes. His experience shows others that ballet does not just have to be a feminine occupation.

Ballet holds so much more for many people; it provides adventure, joy, and freedom of expression and experience that are rarely found in any other path of life.

Through his experience as a male dancer at Harid Conservatory – a prestigious dance school in Boca Raton Florida – as well as a local dance studio (Owensboro Dance Theatre) and now his experience in Long Beach, China, and Japan, he has gained insight into the stereotypes associated with dance, yet he has overcome them, proving that dancing can be for everyone.

No matter if you are Male, Female, American, Chinese, Kentuckian, Californian – dancing always has been and always will be a universal connection between life and cultures.

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