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WDEL's Delaware EducationWatch
with Amy Cherry


St. E's ballerina overcomes partial blindness to dance in internat'l competition

Ana McElvray in her dance uniform.
Ana MacElvray, a senior at St. Elizabeth's High School, has overcome extraordinary odds to represent Delaware in Dance Excellence, an international dance competition in Los Angeles.

She's been dancing since she was four-years-old, but last year had to get a cornea transplant due to a medical mistake.

She hasn't regained vision in her left eye, but that hasn't stopped her from dancing.

Ana MacElvray: "It's just been my passion. I love it, and anything I'd be going through in life, happiness, sad, that's how I communicate."

Regaining balance was an issue, but when I asked about her biggest challenge--she didn't even bring up the blindness in one eye.

MacElvray: "It's a little thing, but biting my lip is a huge challenge. When I'm trying, I bite my lips in dance, and I always get yelled at for it, and I'm trying to break the habit before I go farther."

Her forte is pointe ballet.

MacElvray: "I started early. I started at 10. It depends on how strong your ankles are, I just kept going. I knew I wanted it, and I think that it's at the age 13, you really decide if you want to do this with your life because it's a full commitment."

She says for some dances she has to dig deep to find the character, but not with ballet.

MacElvray: "I don't really have to find something because I just feel it. That's how I know ballet is what I really want to do."

She'll move on to study dance in college and advises other dance lovers to see her success story.

MacElvray: "It's just a good feeling to know that a profession that's really not as popular as it used to be, especially ballet, you can still make it. You can still get there."

The international dance festival she's participating in runs through Saturday. For more information, visit Dance Excellence.

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