Maya Illanes Follows Her Passion to Chile

by Kat Mahoney ’20

Imagine traveling to a foreign country for almost two months in summer on your own. Now imagine having that opportunity to travel to that beautiful country to follow your passion. For junior Maya Illanes, this vision has become an exciting reality. She has the incredible chance to travel to Chile this summer to attend a ballet program at a performing arts school.

Illanes dances at Berrend Dance Centre in Gaithersburg and has performed in multiple shows including “The Nutcracker” at the Olney Theater. “I became serious about dance [in fifth grade] because I realized I love performing and the feeling of all your hard work paying off which is exactly what ballet [brings] me” says Illanes.

This summer, she will be focusing on ballet while in Chile but will also be taking multiple classes dedicated to contemporary dance as well. Teatro Del Lago, the school she will be attending, is located in Frutillar, the Los Lagos Region of Chile. Her father’s cousin is the director of music there.

After a ten hour flight, she will be in Chile from June 7 to July 26 and will be staying with a host family who has an 18 year old daughter who is in the same program. Illanes will have the opportunity to take classes and performs alongside world renowned dance companies. As the only American taking part in this program, Illanes will get to work with only Chilean students. At the beginning of June, she will be performing with other students from the program.

Illanes will spend her Mondays and Wednesdays having exercise classes followed by a contemporary dance class. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, she will go from ballet class to music class back to ballet.

Illanes finished her junior year a few days before the rest of her class to begin her once in a lifetime adventure in Chile.