ENCINITAS — Marisa Soltis Delgado grew up fulfilling the dream of many little girls of becoming a ballerina.
She began studying ballet at the age of 8 at the venerable Harkness Ballet in New York City. As a child she danced with the Royal Ballet at the Met for First Lady Nancy Reagan and Prince Charles. At 15 she became the youngest member of the Milwaukee Ballet. Delgado performed at Boston’s famous Emerson Majestic Theatre for seven years while also dancing for Ballet Theatre of Boston. She was subsequently principal ballerina with the Fort Wayne Ballet where she met her future husband, principal male danseur Bernie Delgado.
Now Delgado is giving others the opportunity to fulfill the same dream by holding auditions for a “Little Women” workshop sponsored by her new Global Masterclass ballet program for pre-professional training. There are 25 to 30 openings for boys and girls between the ages of 10 to 23.
The workshop will consist of master classes and rehearsals.
It will begin Sept. 4 from noon to 3 p.m. at Dance Connection in Encinitas and continue every week until a holiday performance in November.
“Students will be participating in the process of this choreographic construction of a two-act world premier, created here in San Diego,” she said. “Select dancers will be chosen to perform at the historic Orchard House Museum Centennial Celebration, May 2012 in Concord, Mass.”
Orchard House is the site where Louisa May Alcott wrote the book “Little Women.” It has been a museum since 1912.
“Professional guest artists will also appear in the production courtesy of Colorado Ballet, State Street Ballet in Santa Barbara and Princeton Ballet for the leading male roles,” she said. “This is a wonderful opportunity for young dancers to work with seasoned professionals.”
Delgado is also recruiting donors and volunteers to help with costumes, props and scenery.
Ten percent of ticket sales from the Encinitas performance of “Little Women” will be donated to the Preservation Foundation of the Orchard House.
“In this we help ensure that the home of one of our most famous women writers will live on for generations to come,” she said.
Delgado was assistant director of Orange County’s Ballet Pacifica, and a ballet instructor for 18 years for the Ballet Theatre of Boston, Ballet Pacifica and Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, Mass. where her ballet students included her six-year-old daughter.
“I love ballet so much and watching my Mom teach class is really special to me,” Giselle Delgado said.
In developing the business model for Global Masterclass, Delgado envisioned great master teachers from around the country traveling to Encinitas to guest teach.
“I can count 10 colleagues on my fingers right now that would come to Global Masterclass to benefit the dance community here,” she said. “When you’ve been in a specialized profession for 30 years, there is a lot of education to share. We have a lot to give and a lot to teach!”
Currently, Delgado is accepting appointments for private coaching for pre-professional ballet dancers. Global Masterclass will also offer ballet technique, pointe, classical variations, pas de deux classes and adult ballet conditioning class taught by Bernie Delgado.
A special summer ballet intensive will be offered in August.
Delgado said a highlight of her career was meeting the late Dame Agnes de Mille at the age of 15, and going on to dance the soloist part of Americana ballet, “Rodeo,” a role de Mille made famous in 1942.
“I had never been happier than dancing her steps in that ballet,” she remembers. “I’d like to think of her as a guide to help me create my full-length ballet of ‘Little Women.’”
As a young up-and-coming dancer, Delgado said she was nourished by worldly exposure and opportunity.
“That is why we are creating Global Masterclass,” she said. “As a professional ballet dancer and teacher, one is in the wild current of success and failure at times, but courage and self-respect must always prevail. This is what we must teach the children, the next generation. This lesson pertains to all of life, not just ballet.”
For more information, or to schedule an audition for “Little Women,” call (760) 571-7555 or e-mail [email protected]