Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Baghdad Ballerina With A Dream Needs Our Help!

Dancing is difficult. Isn't it? So many things to remember! So much hard work. So much focus required. So many long days at the studio and so hard on your body. So many trips to class for your Mom and Dad. Many missed parties and school functions with childhood friends.

But what if...

You and your family risked your lives everytime you went to the studio?

What if your childhood friend was killed by a random bomb attack?

What if your teachers received death threats?

What if you and other students were intimidated to never come to class again?

What if there was no hope to ever perform in public or to have a career in ballet?

This is the life of Baghdad ballet dancer, Leezan Salam. She studies music and ballet at the School of Iraq. Please watch this brief documentary to hear her story and then I am going to tell you how you can help bring her to the USA for just $5 or less. Of course you can donate more if you are able. =) 

We saw this video several weeks ago and we inquired with Channel 4 to see if anyone was trying to help Leezan or if there was anything we could do. Sadly there was no reply. Luckily a nice lady posted to the Ballet Babble facebook wall that there was a fundraiser for Leezan and a plan to bring her to the United States to study ballet! Here is a blurb from the page...

As a gesture of kindness and friendship in a "hands across the sea," the Willis Ballet has granted Leezan Salam a 2 Year Scholarship to study at Peggy Willis-Aarnio's Willis Conservatory of Classical Ballet in Panama City Beach, Florida and to attend Peggy Willis-Aarnio's 17th International Teacher's Congress in Rockwall, Texas this July....

You can visit the page HERE to see all what has been offered to Leezan and I encourage you to donate anything at all from $2-$5. There is a HUGE ballet presence online and if everyone was to take just a minute to donate a few dollars we can reach the goal in time to purchase the airfare! Time is running out so please donate today!! This is a special cause. Please share this story. 


Robbie, Kyla and Gina Downey

You can visit this page for direct updates on the Leezan coming to the USA: WILLIS BALLET NEWS . Also, you can follow Leezan on twitter @LeezanSalam.  

If you would like to see what you can receive in exchange for a donation please view the image below and use contact the organizer on the donation page to let them know how to send you the item. Otherwise all donations will be considered a straight donation. 

From Peggy.....

An Offer of a Lifetime to the first 10 people who respond......

All 8 DVDs of my Educational Ballet Series entitled Classical Ballet Lesson, demonstrated by Galina Mezentseva. Normal value/cost is $400 ...

BUT, for the first 10 people who donate $120 to my Fundraising Campaign "Help Us to Help Leezan to Realize her Dream", this series will be yours! All proceeds for this limited offer will go towards our campaign to help Leezan...and all you need to do is to send us an e-mail to and we will send you with free postage your own personal set of this series of my Educational Ballet DVD's designed to demonstrate the details of the beginning, middle and end of the 8 Year Program for the Study of Classical Ballet as founded by Agrippina Vaganova, and further refined by Vaganova's personal first assistant for nearly 3 decades, Vera Kostrovitskaya, who took over the Methodology Department of the Vaganova Ballet Academy (formeraly called the Vaganova Choreographic Institute). See some reviews below. Act fast is you have always wanted this DVD series but couldn't afford you can afford it and it will go toward a great, international humanitarian cause. Remember to write to me at that you just donated $120 to Help Leezan and give me your address of where to mail the DVDs to. Please allow 2 weeks for delivery , from the Willis Ballet Educational Ballet Library.... Also see the link below the Reviews to the Fundraiser for Leezan.

Reviews of "Classical Ballet Lesson”…

“To the best of my knowledge, these tapes are the most complete and accurate record of the details of this teaching program that I have ever seen. You have my wholehearted support in this project and my unconditional endorsement of the tape volumes produced.”
Galina Mezentseva, London, England

“I have been teaching for thirty years but I like the exactness and the well thought out planning of what I have seen in these first videos. I eagerly await the remaining videos.”
Audrey Trojanowski, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, USA

“I am thrilled with my video tapes. It is really a dream come true and I cannot thank you enough.”
Carol Purcell, New York, NY, USA

“In London, I bought the 3 beginning level Video cassettes – e.e. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd classes. I find these cassettes really excellent…I would very much appreciate it if you can notify me when the Intermediate Level is available as I would like to purchase all 3 Intermediate Classes, as well as the Advanced Level when that too is released.”
Patrina Borrer, Castlecrag, Australia

“Thank you again for the beautiful tapes – they bring tears of ecstasy! Your Vaganova tapes have been so helpful to my understanding of this training (method).”
Marcia Eder, Naples, Florida USA

“This collection (of videos) is of such quality and format that I would highly recommend that they be considered for use as a video text for university ballet classes. There are none better that exemplify a complete codified system of ballet training from Elementary to Advanced Levels.”
Randall Newsom, Coordinator Comprehensive Dance Program, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, USA

“Your Classical Ballet Lesson (End of Beginning Level) was wonderful. Galina Mezentseva is a beautiful classical dancer with the beautiful Kirov style…Your commentary was so clear…I should like to obtain your other videos (Intermediate and Advanced)…With many thanks.”
Anna Lendrum, Potters Bar, Hers., England

“As I told you over the phone, so much confusion has already been resolved for me after working only three times with these tapes. I can see how one can develop in areas that were a total mystery to me before. I see light at the end of the tunnel.”
Valerie Wooton, Frederik, Maryland, USA

“Thank you for the wonderful thing that you are doing for ballet with these videos!”
Mercedes Barnek, Red Bank, New Jersey, USA

“I would like to congratulate you, Peggy, on the excellent video tapes you produced, so clearly demonstrating the Vaganova syllabus. I was really impressed by the clarity of the work of your own two dancers. They didn’t look out of place even standing beside Galina Mezentseva at the barre! That is a real accomplishment as Galina is considered to be one of the purest examples of the tennants of the School. It is clear that you have applied the method in the proper order of introduction of the exercises, prot de bras, and pas, and enchainements. They are lucky indeed to have your methodical approach to the teaching method of the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet as practised in Saint-Petersburg. I expect to see good things coming from Texas with you passing on this knowledge. Keep up the good work. My students here were thrilled with the tape and immediately began working harder! Thanks for the hit of inspiration.”
Ian Robertson, Founder of the Vaganova Ballet Academy of North America (Canada), Vancouver, Canada

No comments:

Post a Comment