Person of the Week: Lea Ved

August 27, 2009 9:00:00 PM PDT
A Raleigh teenager is in New York attending one of the most prestigious arts schools in the country. She was one of only 12 young women from around the world selected to attend the Juilliard School for dance.

Lea Ved is ABC11's person of the week.

18- year- old Lea Ved has been dancing since she was three.

Lea stated, "It just used to be a hobby of mine, and throughout high school, I found myself really looking forward to dance class a lot more and dance class would be the place I'd go at the end of the day where I could just express myself in so many ways."

The last two years Lea says dance became her passion. She practiced 3 hours a day and performed extensively with the company at Carolina Dance Center in Raleigh, winning awards and turning heads wherever she went.

Lea's mom Elizabeth Ved offered, "She's just very mesmerizing to look at and I get feedback from a lot of people on how good she is and it just confirms that yeah, she's good."

But Lea and her parents didn't realize just how good she was. Until the phone call came from Juilliard.

"She started off the phone call with hi Lea, I just want to congratulate you on your acceptance to the class and I didn't even remember, I didn't let her finish her sentence, I was like oh my goodness, thank you so much. Thank you thank you, I probably sounded like a fool, but I was so excited." said Lea.

Julliard was just a dream school for Lea. With only 12 women accepted each year, it seemed out of reach, and while she wanted to go to a college with a dance program, her main focus was academics.

Graduating from Enloe High School with a 5.1 grade point average, Lea was thinking hard about a medical career.

Now, that's on hold because she has turned top schools like Duke and NYU to pursue her dream.

Lea's dad Jiten Ved stated, "This was supposed to be a hobby. A kind of activity after school and now it has taken a shape of its own and getting away from the main life which is going to regular college and getting a regular degree. This will be very, very, different but it's exciting."

Lea's teachers at Carolina Dance say that while her forte is ballet, she can do it all.

Missy Blackburn of the dance school offered, "She's so gifted in each type of dance, that's one of the things that sets her apart. Her doors are so open in the future. She could be on Broadway or she could be in a company. She could almost do anything."

Lea's not sure where she'll end up. For now, she's focused on learning all she can. So she can dance professionally one day and share her passion with others.

Lea stated, "It's art, you can relate to it in your own way. When you watch it, it touches you in a way you probably didn't know was possible. It's just very profound and expressive and I love getting to be in that world."

We should note that Lea was also one of the few that won a scholarship to Juilliard. She'll dance every morning and take academic courses each afternoon. After 4 years, she'll earn a bachelor of fine arts degree.


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