On Pointe to Making a Dream Come True

Ballerina Spinning in flowing pink dress

Big things are on the horizon for 16-year-old International Dance Academy (IDA) student Paula Zapata. The aspiring ballerina will be packing her slippers and moving to New York City to join the Jackie Kennedy Onassis School at the American Ballet Theater (ABT). The prestigious pre-professional ballet training program is available, by invitation only, to a limited number of student dancers, ages 12-17, from The United States and around the world.

“It is a dream come true for a dancer who sets her goals at dancing professionally on the world’s finest stages,” exclaimed Mary Buttner, Director of International Dance Academy. “Since Paula walked through our doors, we immediately knew that she was special. We just knew we had someone so special and quite phenomenal. It is an honor of breathtaking proportions, and we are so proud!”

Ten years ago, Paula’s parents never expected the “tutu” cute six-year-old to follow her dream and excel and achieve an honor of such magnitude. Like all great parents, they just wanted to give their daughter the very best opportunity to learn what she desired at that stage in her life. Fortunately, they found International Dance Academy and Paula found her second home.

“The environment at IDA is amazing. It has been the best place for Paula to learn and train. She knew what she wanted at such a young age, and I watched her passion grow along with her love of the art here at the Academy,” explained Paula’s mother, Diana Zapata.

The ambitious dancer was encouraged by her teacher, Deborah Buttner, Artistic Director of the International Dance Academy in Weston to audition for the ABT Summer Program. She impressed the ABT talent scouts and teachers at the distinguished program so much that they invited her to join their program this fall at their impressive school in New York City.

Paula has excelled in all aspects and gives 110% in every class. She also performs major roles on stage in IDA’s professional IBC productions such as Nutcracker, Little Red Riding Hood, and so many more. Additionally, throughout the years she has assisted Mary Buttner by demonstrating techniques to the younger pupils. The eager ballerina also attained the esteemed Advanced I Diploma in the Royal Academy of Dance examinations

“We realized at that young age that Paula was going to shine, and she sure has!” said Deborah Buttner. “All these years she has shown her dedication, work ethic, and ability to focus and work extra work. Paula is a humble, kind, and beautiful young lady with a huge future ahead of her. She leaves for New York City with the love and best wishes of her teachers and friends at the International Dance Academy.”