As he finishes his studies at the School of American Ballet in New York, Charlotte native Silas Farley is going out in style.
He's one of four recipients of the school's top honor: the Mae L. Wien Award, given to students that show outstanding promise. In case that isn't enough encouragement, Farley has attracted big-time notice from the school's annual showcase, which attracts press coverage like the pros get. And the New York City Ballet has offered Farley the career next step in his career: a place among the company's apprentices.
At the school's end-of-year performances, Farley was one of the soloists in "Cortege Hongroise," a Hungarian-tinged showpiece by George Balanchine. Because the school is affiliated with the New York City Ballet, which long was led by Balanchine, his choreography is one of the faculty's specialties.
"Mr. Farley already has the regal bearing and sense of joy that make you hope to see him in many more Balanchine ballets," the New York Times' Gia Kourlas wrote. "His unpretentious dancing, unforced elevation and generous partnering added up to much more than a student performance."
The Associated Press' Jocelyn Noveck did something that may be especially appreciated down here in recognition-hungry Charlotte: She identified Farley's hometown.
"Silas Farley, a tall and handsome 18-year-old from Charlotte, N.C., commanded the stage ... in Balanchine's 'Cortege Hongroise,'" Noveck wrote. "Farley has elegant lines, a sense of grandeur, a light jump, a pleasing smile, and a way of effortlessly drawing one's attention while not hogging it."
Farley and seven others from the school will start in the fall as apprentices with New York City Ballet. They'll take part in up to eight ballets plus the annual "Nutcracker" -- and be paid -- yet they'll also retain some links to the school. After a year at most, the company decides whether to take them into its fully professional ranks. Wish Farley and all of them good luck.
Photo: Paul Kolnik for School of American Ballet