Gina Calesti

Meet the dancer

    Gina, from Anaheim, California, is 13 years old, and is currently studying in 8th grade. She has been dancing on the Passion y Tumbao Project of OCAC since she was 5 years old. She is a 2x World Silver medalist in 3 salsa divisions with Passion y Tumbao. Her interests outside of dance are playing sports like softball, swimming, and football. Gina has been dancing since she was 3 years old until now, doing the styles of ballet, musical theater, tap, jazz, ballroom, tumbling, hip hop, and bachata. She is also interested in photography. Gina is interested in forensic science, and in the future, she wants to be a detective to find the clues to put the story together of why someone died.

Why does she need a scholarship?

“Dance has always been Gina’s motivation to do better in school,” her mother says. “If she does not do well in school, it is the first thing that I take away. This always helps Gina to work harder right away.  I am glad she likes something so much.” Gina says that school is not hard, it is just sometimes I do not know what to do. “Once I know what I am doing, it is easier, and I can do it faster. If I don’t understand, I do struggle a lot at it.” Gina says. With more one on one attention and a lower student to teacher ratio from Fairmont, I know that I can be more successful.

 

Gina feels Fairmont is a really good school, and that she can grow stronger academically.  There is also great diversity of people and their cultures. She can get to know and benefit from learning about other students that come from other countries.  She looks forward to making a new group of friends. Gina says, “In my past school, I have always felt that I was different and an outcast. I was so much involved in dance that my friends did not accept me. They would tell me that I could not talk about dance or anything dance related if I hung out with them. I had to be someone completely different to fit in. I will appreciate a school that will accept me for who I am, where I can thrive as a dancer. Without a project like Latin Dance for Education, I know that I would never have the chance of an elite education from Fairmont. I would appreciate the opportunity.

Why dance?

Dance is Gina’s life. She feels like she can express herself when she dances, and it is a stress reliever as well.  Since she has started dancing at Passion y Tumbao, it has opened a lot of doors for her to go to a lot of places that she would not have able to go to if she did not dance, for example the World Latin Dance Cup in Miami, the Puerto Rico Children Teen Salsa Congress, the San Diego Salsa and Bachata Festival, the Tijuana Salsa Bachata Festival, and the Las Vegas Salsa Fest, and the Las Vegas Salsa Bachata Supercongress.

 

Gina’s mother states, “Dance transforms her. She is normally shy and cannot open up, but on stage, someone else comes out. You can feel and see the passion that comes out of her.  It is easier for her to dance than to have a one on one conversation. Dance gives her a purpose, a sense of being, and a home. Self esteem or confidence is not something you can, as a parent, just go to Target and buy for them. Children need to acquire it somehow, and dance helps Gina to acquire it and project it both on and off stage.”