DUNBARTON — Today she’s a senior at Bow High School, but soon she may be one of the world’s best professional ballerinas.
London Mills of Dunbarton turned 18 this month and last month reached the final round of the Genée International Ballet Competition in Toronto.
Started in 1931 by the Royal Academy of Dance, the competition has become one of the world’s most renowned ballet competitions. In the past, it’s served as a springboard for professional careers in ballet across North America, Europe and Asia.
Mills was one of just six competitors from the United States among the 62 entrants at the event. After a two-day preliminary round split between solo dances and a judged class, Mills emerged as the only North American female among the 14 dancers in the final round.
Although Mills was not one of the top three in the event, her result has created a buzz at Bow High School.
“Even though my classmates and teachers aren’t really into ballet that much, they’re really proud and impressed,” she said.
The result came thanks to Mills’ extensive training, which began when she was just 3 years old. By the time she was approaching her teens, Mills knew that a professional career was a real possibility, leading her to train with Alexandra Koltun and Alex Lapshin, former dancers with the Kirov and Bolshoi ballet companies.
After she graduates from high school at the end of the school year, Mills will decide if she will head to college or straight toward a career in professional ballet.
While she says professional ballet companies will likely not be taking new applications until the spring, she has already begun applications to the University of Utah, the University of North Carolina’s School for the Arts and the University of Southern California’s Glorya Kaufman School of Dance just in case.
In the meantime, she will continue to juggle high school with her six-days-a-week training regimen with Koltun outside Boston.
Koltun “says you need to have determination and learn how to hold your nerves in stressful situations,” she said. “But at this rate, she thinks I have the drive and willpower to go into this profession if that’s what I want.”