WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — You’re about to meet a woman who moved away as a young girl to attend a school of dance. She wouldn’t have had to move if such a school was available near her community. So, years later after becoming an engineer, she decided risk it all. She quit the engineering gig and laced up her shoes again….non-profit style. Tonight, we’re ‘Dancing with a Star’.

As cute as these tiny dancers are, this story isn’t about them. Matter of fact, this story isn’t tiny at all.
“We have 8000 square feet,” Elizabeth Hester told Daniel Seamans, describing her arts center on Oleander Drive.
This is the story of Elizabeth Hester who found a way to make her new life ‘work’.

“The former School of Ballet of Wilmington shutdown and at the time was the only place to study ballet,” she said. “I was teaching one night a week. I had a 100 people begging me to open up a ballet school so I signed a 6 month lease, left my engineering job, took a chance and opened in 1999.”

Quite a leap of faith for a single mother at the time. “It’s very difficult to raise children and make a career.” But she did. Now she’s the veteran owner/operator of the Wilmington School of Ballet and Dance. It’s an art complex that simplifies her dream to make dancing available to all ages, everywhere in the Cape Fear.

“I have an outreach in Columbus County, where I live, where students can go to Southside Dance and rehearse in Columbus County but perform in the Nutcracker.” Her dream has inspired… “One of my students, she’s a police, a police officer in Charlotte and she says that ballet made her brave,” Elizabeth said.

And back to that whole 8000 square foot dealio? This setup features a preschool, a dance school, a fitness center, annnnd then some.

Elizabeth is 15 years into her new role. “I felt I could have a role in changing their lives, through the art of dance, through the structure of it, through the discipline of it.” And that role…Elizabeth…is Extraordinary.

Elizabeth also owns a business in Leland and organizes all kinds of events around the Cape Fear that includes the Nutcracker.
Actors, professional dancers, volunteers…you need to contact the school as soon as possible because there are a few paying gigs still up for grabs. The Nutcracker, of course, is quite the production come later this year.

Click on the school’s website for all the information you need to know about signing up and inquiring about the Nutcracker.

If you know someone extraordinary, email me at dseamans@wwaytv3.com!

Categories: New Hanover

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