by Terry Rogers
A Facebook post created by the New York State Ballet on October 7 highlighted a new dancer joining the company for the 2020-21 season. Nova Gaffney, who grew up in Milford with her seven siblings and is the daughter of Dan and Becky Gaffney, became an apprentice with the prestigious ballet.
“I was selected for the company via a video audition I sent to the director,” Gaffney said. “This is my first season with the company and our first performance will be in December. I am a full-time dancer with the ballet but also work night and weekends in the restaurant industry.”
Gaffney, who was homeschooled her entire life, began taking dance lessons at First State Dance Academy when she was four.
“I began dance training in lower Delaware and also attended multiple summer intensives with the Pennsylvania Ballet in Philadelphia,” Gaffney said. “I have also danced with the Burklyn Ballet Theatre in Vermont and Ballet West in Salt Lake City, Utah. When I was 16, I began training with First State Ballet Theatre for my final two years of school before I joined the company there as a trainee in 2018.”
Gaffney finds ballet appealing as the feeling she gets while performing.
“You put weeks and months on end of long days and nights of rehearsal to be able to show the audience magic and it’s very rewarding,” Gaffney said. “The biggest challenge is remember that no matter how hard it gets, it’s going to be worth it. There have been a number of times where injuries or problems have come up and I thought I wanted to quit, but I had to remind myself how lucky I was to be in this position. I just had to listen to the little girl in the back of my head begging my mom to go to a dance class and not let her down.”
While quarantining during the pandemic, Gaffney stated that she attempted to learn how to skateboard. She also spent her free time bike riding and baking.
The New York State Ballet focuses on preserving the classical art form of ballet by performing programs that provide an appreciation of ballet in the New York state community. The ballet offers programs that are affordable and designed to be accessible to community members from all backgrounds and socio-economic status.
“The Nutcracker” is planned for December with tickets going on sale October 12. In April 2021, the ballet will perform “The Wizard of Oz” with ticket information to be announced soon. More information about the ballet can be found at https://www.newyorkstateballet.org/season.