Nicholas Acampora began dancing soon after he had learned to walk.The Richland Township native has dabbled in lots of extracurricular activities, but ballet seems to stick where many others have come and gone for Acampora.
"My mom put me in, and I have been dancing ever since," said Acampora about the pre-school classes his mother Debbie started him on early in his life.
Now 12, Acampora is beginning to encounter an increasingly wider variety of activities and ballet has no signs of being pushed aside.
Acampora recently danced in New Horizons Dance Studio's production of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake at Calvary Church Theatre in Souderton, PA.
"Basically, we're busy every minute of the day," said Nicholas' mother.
When he is not practicing before a show three to four hours a night, Acampora is playing soccer during the summer, taking piano lessons, taking flute lessons, participating boy scouts (where he proudly noted that he was recently appointed assistant senior patrol leader), and even sometimes dabbling in baseball, volleyball, basketball and swimming.
On top of that, Acampora also takes tap and jazz dance lessons as well, but he made sure to add that ballet was the one that held the most water for him, "ballet is definitely my favorite."
"One of the reasons it really sticks, is because we have such great teachers," said Acampora, who enjoys studying under his Ballet Master, George Thomson, "He really takes time with each person to get them to the best of their ability."
"It has taught me discipline, hard work and how to keep a commitment," said Acampora, adding that the level of commitment with most of his sports teams wasn't the same.
"It is a lot of fun. You get to be around a lot of people, you get to go see a lot of different places, you also get to see backstage stuff and how they build sets," said Acampora, Acampora also enjoys visiting a variety of different venues and performing at them. He noted one experience with the Pottstown Symphony Orchestra, where he and his company performed at a variety of high schools.
Just recently beginning his career of serious performance in ballet, Acampora has big aspirations, hoping to someday hone his skills to a degree where he can grab lead roles in productions like the Nutcracker.
"It's a lot of time on stage, I love performing on stage. I want to be able to do all the moves it takes to do it, it is really hard. I want to be able to get to that level," said Acampora.
Aside from the help of Thomson, Acampora, the youngest boy in the company, also added that the older boys help him whenever he needs it, "They'll always help and show you how to do stuff."
A job that Acampora hopes to someday have with fellow students, years younger them himself, "I'll tell the kid, 'I was you years ago.'"
Acampora says a lot of kids may think ballet is easier than it looks, "It takes a lot of strength to be able to do it... it takes a lot of time and effort."
Acampora believes that all his time and energy involved in ballet will pay off in the long run, "It'll be a nice thing to know when I am older."
Acampora also plans on staying involved in scouts and eventually becoming an Eagle Scout.
But aside from that, Acampora is unsure of what exactly he wants the future to hold. And at age 12, he is far from alone.
If you missed Acampora in Swan Lake, look for him in an upcoming New Horizons Dance Alliance production, visit them on the web at www.nhdancealliance.org.
David P. Anderson is the editor of The Free Press. He cane be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org