Awa Joannais, Paris Opera Ballet
Awa Joannais was a standout student at the Paris Opera Ballet School before winning a coveted apprenticeship with the company last Spring. Founded in 1669, the Paris Opera Ballet company is the oldest in the world. Awa is the first woman of African descent to join.
Nicole Zadra, Hong Kong Ballet
Nicole Zadra’s journey from New York to the world stage is a testament to perseverance and the power of social media. When the Bolshoi Ballet Academy offered Nicole a year-long traineeship, her excitement fizzled when she realized the $16,000 tuition more than she could afford. Taking a leap of faith, Nicole set up a GoFundMe page and sent a heartfelt email to her idol, Misty Copeland. When Misty posted Nicole’s email to her Facebook page, donations began rolling in. She received a huge donation from Questlove of the Roots, who even used his celebrity to appeal for more donations. Needless to say, Nicole raised the money she needed, completed her training at the Bolshoi, and upon graduation, landed a spot with the Hong Kong Ballet.