hen it comes to ballet, becoming a professional is not a decision that can wait.
W Just Carew. ask Burnaby dancer Rea Mirosevic
At the age of 13, she dropped all her other extra-curricular activities, including piano, to which she had devoted countless hours of practice, to follow her passion for ballet.
She adjusted her school schedule so she could train every day with Vancouver's Goh Ballet Company, taking some of her Burnaby Mountain Secondary School courses online.
The majority of her friends are dancers.
And now, at the age of 15, she has taken a big step in her career, auditioning for and getting accepted into the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet in New York City.
It's a bold move for a young girl who's never been to the Big Apple, but Rea said she recognizes the potential opportunities it will afford her in the future.
Beginning in September, she will train six days a week at the academy, from 8 a.m. to 5: 45 p.m. - a regimen any professional athlete would respect.
Though she's nervous about leaving home and living in Manhattan on her own, she has zero hesitation when it comes to her career decision.
"I feel like ballet is something that I need to do," she said. "It's kind of a calling, and I love it so much. - I feel like it chooses me."
The only real obstacle is the cost of the program.
The tuition is $12,500 per year, accommodation is $10,000, and then there are general living expenses; all of which her parents simply can't afford to cover on their own.
All told, Rea said she expects to need up to $80,000 to attend the academy.
In a creative effort to raise the funds, her family members have rallied behind her, helping her launch two crowdfunding campaigns this summer to try to meet the first goal of $12,000.
The online platforms - GoFundMe.com and MyEvent.com - are websites that offer a means for individuals to fundraise for a variety of projects and causes through social media networking.
As of Aug. 21, Rea has raised $8,185 through the websites and from family friends, which means she's $3,815 away from her financial goal for this fall.
She updates the websites daily with photos and information about what she's doing to further the campaign.
"Before they donate, some people want to see that it's still happening," she said. "But since we've already raised this amount, we've already bought the tickets (to go to New York), and my parents have made the decision that I'm going to go. We're going on a leap of faith and hoping that people will continue to support or donate."
Rea is planning to dive back into fundraising efforts when she comes home at Christmas, holding a silent auction or car wash or bake sale, as well as continuing the online fundraisers.
She has also contacted various media outlets, including a Croatian radio station, for which she recently did an interview.
"It takes a lot of energy to fundraise," she said. "A lot of people are under the impression that you just put up a site and the money comes pouring in, but it's really not like that. We've actually delivered flyers and done the leg work, and talked to various people and I've been emailing and calling - I dedicate so much time each day to doing it, so it's really hard work, but I think it's worth it when you get people interested, because they want to see that I'm involved. They don't just want to see my parents running around for the money."
Though she is not sure exactly how long she intends to train at the New York academy, she said the goal is get as much out of the experience as possible in order to be ready to audition for a professional ballet company.
The ultimate goal, of course, is to become a prima ballerina.
"I think that's every girl's dream who is seriously into it, but that's for sure my goal," she said, noting a European company would be especially rewarding considering the history and caliber of professional ballet companies there.
Wherever she ends up, Rea knows one thing for sure: she'll be dancing on a stage somewhere and giving it her all.
Besides the financial support from donors, she says the biggest source of motivation she has had in striving to get to New York has been from her family.
"I have so much gratitude for my parents, especially, because they're the ones who've been there for me. - they see that this is something I really love and enjoy and it's my goal, and they decided they wanted to invest in this. I think that that's so important for me."
For more information or to donate, visit www. gofundme.com/reaballerina or www.supportaballerina. myevent.com.