PASCO, Wash. - After a summer training with the Bolshoi Ballet in New York City and in Russia, a girl from Pasco is home with a prestigious invitation to continue her dancing education.
Dance has shaped Mariah Shearer's life for the last 15 years. "I've been dancing since I was like 3," she says, "but I started taking it seriously when I was about 9. When I was little I actually really disliked dancing, but then when I started taking it more seriously I decided that's what I wanted to do."
A few months ago, she auditioned and applied for the internationally renowned Bolshoi Ballet's Summer Intensive program.
She told us, "I usually don't ever apply for things like this, as it seems kind of out of my league, but I'm really happy that I did because it changed my life."
Out of hundreds of applicants from across the country, New York's Russian American Foundation chose Mariah to train in Moscow.
From there, Mariah spent 3 weeks in New York, and then six weeks in Russia. It was her first time out of the country alone, and while she was a little scared, her mother knew she'd do just fine.
Her mom, Marcie Shearer says, "she'd gone to a couple of summer intensives before, she went to Florida last year in Miami, and she had a great time so I wasn't really worried."
And sure enough, Mariah's 9 weeks of nonstop dance only made her love it more.
"It kind of refreshed my whole outlook on dance," she says, "and my love for dance really, because there's so much more out there."
And her mother agrees, "I'm really proud of her, excited for her, that's a summer that she will never forget."
On top of the incredible experience, a few weeks after Mariah came home, the Bolshoi
invited her to become a full time student. "I would really love to study there, but I'm not sure if that's going to happen this year," Mariah says, "maybe in the future I hope I can study there, after I graduate high school."
But wherever her point shoes may take her, Mariah knows she'll dance her way to success.