After competitive auditions, two Sag Harbor girls have won places at prestigious ballet programs this summer. Rachael Pepper, 16, a Pierson student, and Brooke Bierfriend, 11, who goes to the elementary school, are both ballerinas in training at Meredith Shumway’s Studio 3 in Bridgehampton.Rachael, whose dad is well known locally as the mobile veterinarian Dr. Andrew Pepper and whose mom is jewelry designer Lorraine Pepper, won acceptance to the six-week professional training program at the Gelsey Kirkland Academy in New York this summer, which she attended last year but in a less intensive program.
Brooke won a place at two prestigious schools that students from all over the world compete to attend, the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C. and the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Connecticut. Both are six-week programs. She will go for three weeks to each one from June to August.
“She’s the youngest student on Long Island to win a place at both schools,” said her proud father Gary as her mom Annette and younger sister Haley looked on during a quick interview.
Brooke is in her eighth year studying ballet, she said. She started with her “three best friends and I guess I just really liked it so I just wanted to keep doing it,” she explained. She goes to Studio 3 three times a week for two classes each day.
Does she want to dance professionally some day? “No, not really,” said the self-assured young lady, but she doesn’t rule out the possibility. She’s also into gymnastics and figure skating.
Rachael does have her eye on a dance career. “I would love to” dance professionally, she said. “It’s really hard, though, so I have to have a backup plan. I’m going to try.”
She has applied to eight colleges but her first choice is Marymount Manhattan College, which has a conservatory program where she’d be able to concentrate exclusively on dance. Her other interests have included photography and drawing but she doesn’t have time for much besides dance and school right now, she said.
Rachael practices two to three hours a day five days a week. “That’s actually not that much for a normal dancer,” she said. “I’d have to be homeschooled” to devote as much time to dance as they do, she added.
More than 130 students from Montauk to Southampton train at Studio 3, which holds more than 30 classes a week in ballet, hip-hop, tap, jazz and lyrical dance at spaces in Bridgehampton, Water Mill and Southampton.
Local hunters and fishermen should enjoy a new event set for this Saturday, March 8 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., when the Sag Harbor Dive Team will hold its first annual Fishing & Sporting Flea Market at the firehouse at 1357 Brick Kiln Road. Admission is $5 with children under 12 admitted for free.
There will be fishing and hunting equipment, decoys, food, raffles, a silent auction and more. For further information, contact Rich Simmons at (631) 241-7141.
Rich, the Dive Team crew chief, explained that he’d recently been to a similar event up the Island and thought it would make sense as a fundraiser for the Dive Team, a division of the fire department with volunteers who work on the water helping to put out boat fires and rescue people in trouble and sometimes other creatures—such as the golden retriever named Morgan who fell through the ice of North Haven in February. The team saved the dog after it had been in the icy water for 45 minutes.
Rich pitched the idea of a flea market to the team “and the guys said, ‘Let’s go for it,’” Rich said. The new event will not replace the team’s traditional spaghetti dinner fundraiser, which will take place this spring.
Mark your calendars for the fourth annual Josh Levine School Garden cocktail party and dinner in Sag Harbor on Sunday, April 6, to raise funds in Josh’s memory to support the Edible School Garden projects now flourishing at 25 schools across the East End.
The cocktail party, featuring music, wine and hors d’oeuvres, will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at Dodds and Eder outdoor furnishings and home décor shop at 11 Bridge Street; the price is $75. Dinner will follow at the American Hotel at a price of $100 more ($175, including the cocktail party) or $75 more ($150 including the cocktail party) for Slow Food chapter members.
To purchase tickets, go to www.joshualevinefoundation.org.
A Sag Harbor area resident, organic farmer Josh Levine was the market manager at the Peconic Land Trust’s Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett. He died in a tractor accident there in 2010. The foundation named for him was founded “to identify and support charitable programs which promote good farming practices, healthy eating, education and a sustainable environment,” according to the mission statement on the foundation’s website.
The mission of the Edible School Garden Group, through which organic vegetable and herb gardens tended by students and volunteers have been established at schools across the East End, “is to reconnect children and their families with real food,” according to the site.