Company of Muses awards first Colleen McCloskey-Meyer Ballet Scholarship

Local dancer Ellery Witman receives award for her dedication to ballet

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BRATTLEBORO — Company of Muses announced earlier this fall that Ellery Witman of Brattleboro is the recipient of its first Colleen McCloskey-Meyer Ballet Scholarship.

Witman has been studying ballet at Brattleboro School of Dance since 2012. She has spent countless hours training in class and performing onstage, first as a member of the school's Junior Dance Company and now as an apprentice to the Senior Dance Company, as well as a student demonstrator and student teacher.

Over the past six years, Witman has also performed in every BSD Spring Dance Concert as well as its performances of The Nutcracker, in which she has danced roles in the Chinese divertissement, the Waltz of the Flowers, the Marzipan divertissement, and the Waltz of the Snowflakes, according to Company of Muses Board Member, Jennifer Moyse.

Moyse added, "I cannot think of a dancer that better represents the spirit of this scholarship than Ellery Witman. Her dedication to ballet has been consistent and the opportunity to take additional ballet classes through this scholarship will encourage her growth as a dancer."

The Colleen McCloskey-Meyer Ballet Scholarship was established to honor the late McCloskey-Meyer's love of ballet, which was nurtured through her studies at Brattleboro School of Dance. According to former owner, and COM Board Member, Kathleen Keller, "BSD was like a second home to Colleen. "

Memorial donations for the scholarship commenced soon after McCloskey-Meyer's passing in November 2017. Funding will be sustained through directed giving as well as an annual, by-donation class taught at BSD between Christmas and New Year's Eve.

"The timing of the class was chosen to encourage a gathering of community that Colleen valued so greatly," said current BSD owner Bridget Struthers, adding that this year's class will be held Dec. 27 at Brattleboro School of Dance.

Company of Muses, a non-profit organization dedicated to the scholarship of area youths in the performing arts, are stewards of the Colleen McCloskey-Meyer Ballet Scholarship Fund. The awards given each Fall, Spring and Summer semester go to students primarily based on their dedication to ballet, with a demonstration of financial need as an additional influence.

The scholarship is meant to provide supplemental support for dancers who need to increase the number of classes they are taking each week in order to progress to a higher skill level. It is also available to support dancers with an interest in ballet who, for whatever reason, have not been able to add ballet to their lives yet.

Dancers at Brattleboro School of Dance and their families are encouraged to apply for this award even if they may not meet the financial criteria for the general BSD tuition scholarship fund. They should indicate on the application why they are interested in ballet training.

The spring 2019 deadline for both this award and BSD tuition scholarships through Company of Muses is Jan. 20. Applications can be downloaded from companyofmuses.org.

Donations to the Colleen McCloskey-Meyer Ballet Scholarship can also be mailed to Company of Muses, P.O. Box 1371, Brattleboro, VT 05302, with an indication in the check memo line designating it to this particular fund.




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