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Volume 26, Number 4 — April 2019

Ballet is expression and escape for Callee Scout Love

Callee Scout Love
Callee Scout Love

By Leslie Grace | A! Magazine for the Arts | October 31, 2018

Ballet allows Callee Scout Love primarily to express herself, but it also serves as an escape from her health issues.

“Ballet is something that allows me to express myself in a different way. I can leave everything that’s going on outside of dance behind me and forget about it. After being diagnosed with multiple rare autoimmune diseases, dancing is becoming harder and harder for me, but dance has allowed me to be myself and not worry about my health. It helps me escape from all the issues that I have and just for a short while I can pretend everything is ok. It really is the greatest escape,” she says.

Callee started dancing when she was very young — before she was diagnosed. “I started when I was 3 at Ballet Arts Academy in Bristol. My older sister started taking lessons first, and I’d watch the older girls dance while she was in her lessons. I couldn’t wait till I was old enough to dance,” she says.

During the past 11 years, she has been in at least two Bristol Ballet shows a year. She’s danced almost every female role in “The Nutcracker,” except Clara. She’s also been in “Alice in Wonderland,” “Mulan,” “Aladdin,” “Wizard of Oz,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Robin Hood,” “Mother Goose,” “Peter Pan” and “Snow White.”

“I think my roles in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ were my favorite, particularly the Duchess. I got to act a bunch. I’m usually pretty shy and don’t always speak up when I should, so being the duchess was fun,” Callee says.

Callee has been studying at Bristol Ballet for the past two years, and this year she won the Teresangla Schiano Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship was begun four years ago by friends and family of Schiano after her death. Schiano was a dancer at Bristol Ballet who was passionate about her art.

“In the past, I’ve won awards for choreography from the commonwealth of Virginia PTA Reflections Program. I placed in the top three in the state for choreography for several years there.

“I’ve also been chosen out of hundreds of dancers around the country to study at Charlotte Ballet’s summer intensive. My first summer with them was 2016, and then I went back last summer. Sadly I wasn’t able to stay the full six weeks because I was sick. I was on a transplant medicine for my kidneys and dancing eight hours a day was just too much for me physically.

“I’d love to become a professional dancer but my auto immune disease affects my kidneys and joints. I’ve also just had my second biopsy to see if I have another autoimmune disease that’s causing my kidney disease. Right now my doctors think I may have lupus also, so I’m not sure if my body will cooperate with me to be a professional dancer. I’ve spent so much time in the hospital and with doctors lately that I’m actually thinking of going into the medical field — possibly a rheumatologist or nephrologist since I’ve spent so much time with both of them,” Callee says.

When she has time, she helps out with Theatre Bristol productions when they need dancers. She was recently in “Beauty and the Beast.”

Callee is 14 and is the daughter of Bo and Shannon Love. She lives in Bristol, Virginia, and is a freshman at Bristol Virginia High School.