Gisele Bethea:Mormon Ballerina
Gisele Bethea is a young ballerina who is a rising star in the world of ballet.
She was born on January 31, 1999, and started dancing at the age of four. She admits that she didn’t get serious about ballet until she was 10 years old. At age 14, she was the youngest ever invited to compete and then win a silver medal at the Moscow International Ballet Competition (IBC) in 2013. She won the Youth Grand Prix Award at the Youth America Grand Prix Finals (student ballet scholarship competition) and competed in the World Ballet Competition USA in 2013. At the USA IBC in 2014, she won a gold medal in the junior division. She received a full scholarship to the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre. She also was offered a spot with the American Ballet Theatre's Studio Company. The company dancers usually range in age from 16 to 20. She was only 15. She deferred for one year in order to be able to graduate from high school first. She has been invited to guest perform in Poland, Austria, Turkey, and Brazil during 2015.
Bethea lives in Arizona and studies at the Master Ballet Academy in Scottsdale, where she has studied since she turned 12 years old. She now competes in pas de deux. She is the daughter of John and Heidi Bethea and is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“It is not normal family life for us," her mother, Heidi Bethea said. "But because Gisele is who she is and because we believe there is a purpose for all of this and that we can play a part in the purpose, it makes it really helpful."
Bethea likes to meet the people with whom she is competing. She said, “I want them to know that they are loved, and that they have my support and that I am rooting for them,” she said. “As I do that, I build a friend relationship with them and I’m able to ask them about their personal lives and ask them about their beliefs in God.”