Sometimes all a struggling student needs to hear is a few words of encouragement. At least, that was true for Sarasota Ballet principal Ricardo Rhodes as a teenager with Parren Ballard at Boston Ballet School.

"He always believed in me, even when I didn't believe in myself--he'd tell me, 'You have something special.' He always spoke to me in Spanish because I was the only one in class who could understand it. From him I learned to use what I have and that I can't be anyone but myself." 

The Sarasota Ballet will perform several Frederick Ashton ballets throughout Sarasota as part of its Ashton Festival, April 30-May 3. sarasotaballet.org

 

Photo by Frank Atura, courtesy of Sarasota Ballet