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Gulf High School sophomore Bella Calafiura has qualified to take part in an international ballet competition. Normally, only about 30 to 35 students worldwide participate.

She passed the highest examination for pre-professional dancers and thus qualified to take part in the Genee International Ballet Competition, which will be held in Singapore in September.

Bella is the daughter of Frank and Julie Calafiura of Port Richey.

Bella began her dance training with Gillian Davis A. R. A. D. at the age of 4. At the age of 6 she received her first ballet award for receiving the highest mark (Distinction) in the Royal Academy of Dance Primary Examination. Since then, she has completed all six graded and four vocational R. A. D. examinations, all with Distinction.

Over the years she has performed many roles for Expressions – The Dance Company, having become a member in 2004. In last year’s production of The Nutcracker, she danced both the Dew Drop Fairy and the Sugar Plum Fairy leading roles in different performances. She was awarded the Rosemary Coombs Memorial Award and Scholarship from Expressions in 2006 for outstanding work.

She became a member of Florida Dance Master’s Main Attraction Dance Troupe during 2006 and 2007 and in November 2007 was awarded FDM’s Sophie & Arthur Jean Memorial Ballet Scholarship, the highest ballet award given.

Bella attended her first summer intensive away from her own studio in 2005 at the Royal Academy Summer School held in Long Beach, California. She was awarded a scholarship award while there. Other summer intensive programs she has attended are with the Houston Ballet, the Orlando Ballet, and the Joffrey Ballet. This summer she will be attending the Alonzo Lines Intensive in San Francisco.

In 2008 Bella began taking additional classes at the Patel Conservatory in Tampa with the Orlando Ballet. She has performed for them in several concerts in solo and ensemble roles, as well as a Pas De Deux in a spring performance this year.

In March 2009, Bella took the Royal Academy of Dance Advanced 2 Ballet Examination, the highest test for pre-professional ballet students. Once again she was awarded the highest mark, Distinction, which qualifies her to take part in the prestigious Adelin Genee Competition. This competition is exclusively for young dancers who have achieved Distinction for the Advanced 2 examination and are under 19 years old. As Bella is only 16, this is a great accomplishment. Usually only about 30 to 35 ballet students from around the world are eligible to take part in any one year and the competition is truly international with entrants from around the globe. The competition is held in a different city annually and this year it is to be held in Singapore.