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    Posted February 17, 2013 by
    Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

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    Girl Seeks to Win Grand Prix in Ballet


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Mahariffic met a 9-year-old aspiring ballerina named Satya Tranfield and spent some time with the family as the girl trains for the Youth America Grand Prix, the world’s largest student ballet competition. Satya will compete in the semi-finals in Atlanta on March 1 – 3. Dancing for half her young life already, Satya began dancing in her birth country, Japan, and continued when her family moved to the U.S. 'I move from my heart. And when I move, I know I can move the hearts of others,' she told Mahariffic.

    As for Mahariffic, she has high hopes for Satya: 'I believe that children who undertake ballet with such devotion are uniquely disciplined. This child is unusually focused, the kind of focus that creates the greatest tennis stars or those who would attain a world stage. Meanwhile, ballet (like tennis and soccer) requires a great deal of commitment by the parents. The economy and the scheduling are taking a toll on such devoted parents, and like Satya’s parents, many relationships become strained as a result. I am hopeful their daughter’s success will provide a great sense of unity and success, as well.'
    - zdan, CNN iReport producer

    Pursuing ballet for half of her life, Satya Tranfield could still be dancing 70 years from now.


    You see, Satya Tranfield is only 9 years old. But according to her instructor, Alexey Kulpin, Satya is uniquely gifted, and could be pirouetting in a grand way on the big stage one day.


    The oldest of Fred and Lilly’s two children, Satya’s serious aura counters her playful, and visibly bored, little brother, who’s in tow at the Mount Pleasant, S.C., studio.


    Her father is filming the lesson, not for posterity, but “for notes,” he said. “She reviews every still to see where she needs to improve.”


    As devoted as the children must be to study ballet, the parents must be even more so. Fred is a yoga instructor, and his wife is a homemaker. The economy has weakened even in this tourist Mecca, so fewer people engage in quality of life activities such as yoga.


    The investment’s worth it for such promising young dancers if for only a college scholarship. “But I see her with even greater potential,” says Kulpin.


    Kulpin, who teaches children all along the South Carolina coast, was principal dancer for the Charleston Ballet until the nonprofit company went broke recently. With offers coming from companies around the country, Kulpin has found opportunity in this rather sophisticated Southern town.


    Meanwhile, Satya will join hundreds of other student dancers who will compete March 1-3 in Atlanta during the Youth America Grand Prix Competition (http://www.yagp.org/eng/yagp2013.php). Atlanta is one of 12 cities hosting the prestigious ballet competition. The winners from each of the regional competitions will go to New York City for the final competition April 12-17.

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