Izabella Duran-Soriano is one of the five ballerinas in the nation to be featured in a website highlighting minorities in ballet.
The "Brown Girls Do Ballet" blog was started in 2013 as a personal photography project of TaKiyah Wallace who felt that black, Hispanic, Asian, East Indian, and Native American girls enrolled in ballet programs in Texas were not receiving accolodes. The organization expanded to include aspiring ballerinas of color in the entire country. The website includes the Ceres girl in its "5 to watch" blog seen at http://browngirlsdoballet.com/2015/04/20/5-to-watch/.
Raised in Ceres, Izabella, 13, eats, lives and breathes ballet and dances about 40 hours a week, seven days per week in between home school studies. She has taken ballet, tap, hip hop and jazz dance classes at Steps Dance Arts Center under Charlotte Ewing and April Doran since she was two. She also attends Central West Ballet Academy where she is enrolled in ballet, jazz and tap dancing classes.
"This is a huge honor for her and the studio," said Iris Rodriguez, whose daughter Malia Day is best friends with Izabella. "We couldn't be prouder."
Izabella, the daughter of Jose and Julie Duran-Soriano, also has additional training in an array of traditional/regional dances from Mexico with Ballet Folklorico Viva Mexico.
Her mother said her daughter's drive may have stemmed from being told as a youngster that she "didn't have the right body for ballet."
"She was told that she should just do it for fun and I think that's what put the fire in her," said Julie.
Izabella seems farther advanced than her 13 years of age.
"Ballet is where my heart lives and my home is at the barre," said Izabella. "The world of ballet changes every day and I want to be a part of that change, and that takes having no fear, be willing to take a risk, good training and technique, only I can make my ballet dreams come true."
Izabella performed the 2010 lead of "Alice" in Steps' production of "Alice in Wonderland," and "Clara" in the 2012 Nutcracker for Central West Ballet, a resident company of the Gallo Performing Arts Center. She also was the Central West's 2013 guest artist as "Ballerina Doll," Steps' "Cinderella" in 2014, and a "Sugar Plum Fairy" in Step's 2014 Nutcracker production.
Izabella fine tunes her ballet skills by attending numerous summer intensives through Ballet San Jose, Central California Summer Dance Conservatory, Contra Costa Ballet, Central West Ballet, and Houston Ballet.
Izabella has also attended master classes once per month at ABT West & Ballet in San Jose as well as workshops with Dance Master of California.
When Izabella isn’t in class herself she is a teacher’s assistant/demonstrator with the Turlock Parks & Recreation Department’s Dance Etc. Program and the Ceres Parks & Recreation’s dance program hosted by Steps Dance Arts Center, all under the direction of Charlotte Ewing.
She was recently danced in a segment featured on Good Day Sacramento, a Sacramento news TV program.