The Boston Ballet has chosen Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast student and St. Petersburg native Styles Speights to spend the summer training with the company’s world-renowned choreographers. Speights competed with over 6,000 other dance students from around the world, and was one of 200 chosen for the Boston Ballet’s Summer Intensive Boston Ballet Training.
Speights got into dancing at 14 years old while attending the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast’s Royal Theatre program. The Royal Theatre allows underprivileged children to gain an appreciation for the arts by providing a state-of-the-art performing and cultural arts center for the underserves community. Rather than spending time on the streets and getting into problems, children are immersed in the arts and given a healthy avenue to express themselves.
Speights is a senior and dance major at the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School. He has trained with both the principal dancer and the artistic director of the Florida Dance Theatre. He plans on continuing his dance education beyond high school and hopes to attend either the Boston Conservatory, Julliard, Indiana University or the University of the Arts. His long term goals include joining a professional dance company and becoming a choreographer for Broadway.
His story, along with that of other Boys & Girls Club Hall of Fame members such as Ashanti, Jennifer Lopez, and Usher, serve as inspiration for youth as it teaches that hard work and determination yield grand opportunities.
About the Boys & Girls Club of the Suncoast:
The Boys & Girls Clubs of America movement came to Pinellas County in November 1959 with the founding of the Boys Club of Pinellas Park by Police Chief Maurice L. MacTarsney and Margret “Peg” Nunn. The Club began operating in January 1960 in an old frame building leased from the City of Pinellas Park with its first executive director, James S Hart Jr. The Boys Clubs of Pinellas, Inc. was chartered in August 1967 when its second club opened at the Northside location in St. Petersburg. In May 1970, at the urging of both the United Way and the Boys Clubs of America, the Boys Clubs of Pinellas County, Inc. was organized. In 1991, the Boys Clubs of Pinellas County opened its programs to all youth, forming Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast (BGCS), as we know it today, now with eleven locations. BGCS, under the leadership of Carl R. Lavender, Jr. has the goal “to influence the behavior and the attitudes of each individual boy and girl in a wholesome manner.” The sole purpose of BGCS is to provide children, youth, their families and the community opportunities for safe, structured, well supervised after school and summer youth programs, with an emphasis on leadership, education and self-sufficiency. The organization has proven its commitment to service for children and community members with innovative and progressive programming and opportunities. Supporters of Boys & Girls Clubs include government politicians, law enforcement agency representatives, financial institutions, and education boards, among other concerned citizens. To find out more or to help, visit www.bgcsuncoast.org.