Trumbull dancer is bound for Bolshoi

Ben Boveroux

As the school year comes to a close, many students plan for a summer filled with trips, camps, or work as lifeguards and nannies. However, one local teen with be working on his craft.

Trumbull student Ben Boveroux, 15, will study ballet with the Bolshoi Ballet Academy Summer Intensive, featuring instruction from teachers of the Bolshoi Academy in Moscow. For six weeks, Ben will be immersed in a program taught in Russian (with the help of translators) that will focus on precision of technique.

“I need to be pushed to my potential,” Ben said. “I’m new to the Russian style of ballet. They have a hard reputation — it’s got to look amazing.”

The sleepaway program will be held at the Loomis Chaffee boarding school and will include Russian language instruction and even off-campus trips. “Bolshoi” translates from Russian to mean big, large or great, and Ben’s mother, Lorie, said this great opportunity came as quite a surprise.

It began while Ben was performing in Philadelphia at the Youth American Grand Pre, a worldwide competition. After Ben’s solo, judges approached him offstage, leading him to worry he had done something wrong.

“I thought I was disqualified or something. I mean, even just the YAGP semifinals is a big deal in the ballet world,” he said. Instead, he was recommended to the Bolshoi Academy.

Ben has been training since age 3, when his sister took ballet classes and he had to sit and wait for her to be done.

“He was stuck there,” Lorie said. “The teachers urged him to study, they saw something in him.” At age 7 Ben quit ballet, beginning what his mother calls “the big gap.” He played soccer and lacrosse, activities more common for boys, but he wasn’t as happy.

Ben had been driven from ballet by peer pressure from other boys who picked on him for participating in a “girls” activity. But love of performing won out.

Ballet has also impacted Ben’s life outside the studio, including his academics. This is where mother and son seem to recollect differently. Lorie recalls that Ben was a D student before returning to ballet, Ben insists he earned solid Cs.

Still, there’s no disputing the honor roll at St. Joseph’s High School, where Ben has also made a place for himself. The physical exertion of dancing also keeps him mentally focused at school. “It gave me a place to vent my energy, it has really grounded me,” he said.

The bullies have been pretty quiet, too.

“My real friends are fine with it,” Ben said.

But putting dance first entails some sacrifice, Ben said. He has missed family events and vacations, even a trip to China.

“‘Sorry, I can’t, I have to dance,’ I say that a lot,” he said. “Still, what I’ve gotten out of it is amazing.”

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