My name is Olivia Sacchetillo and I am 14 years old. I dance at the Orlando Ballet School Academy in Orlando, FL.


Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.

I started ballet in a small, local studio when I was 7 years old. After watching a friend’s end-of-year showcase, I was mesmerized by the storyline, the costumes, and the dancing. I knew that I wanted to be on a stage dancing too. At age 9, I fell in love with ballet. I started to get very serious about pursuing dance as a career, so I began auditioning and attending summer intensives and looking for a more professional school. When I was 10 years old, I was invited to join the Professional Training Program at Cary Ballet Conservatory in Cary, NC. My family has always supported me and my love for ballet. So we found a way for my mom and me to move there to attend the program. After three years at CBC, I auditioned for Orlando Ballet School’s Academy and was accepted! Orlando Ballet has always been one of my dream companies ever since I saw their performance of Swan Lake when I was 9 years old. So, when I found out that I was accepted to their Academy program, I was absolutely thrilled!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?

Things have definitely not been easy for me. Everything I have achieved has been through so much hard work, dedication, perseverance, faith, and a whole lot of patience. Unfortunately, I have received some negative comments from both teachers and peers. I have also been in toxic environments, which can be damaging to your confidence and overall mental health. However, I have learned to ignore those hurtful and harmful words and just do my best, put all of myself into my dancing, and be the best version of myself that I can be.

What personal limitations if any did you go through in your young career?

My mindset can definitely be a challenge for me sometimes. I am a perfectionist (as all dancers are), and I can be extremely hard on myself if I struggle with something or fail to do something perfectly. To overcome this, I always try to remind myself that hard work and patience will help me get the results I want. I try to keep a positive mindset and really try to remind myself that practice makes progress, NOT perfection. I am still a work in progress, and I know that I always will be.

Has anybody ever tried to limit you on what you could do? If so how did you fight it?

Yes. This really goes back to negative comments and toxic environments. Both of these can be so damaging to your confidence and overall mental health. Hearing negative comments or having people try to limit what you can do can be detrimental to your well-being and can actually be quite destructive to your mindset. Two examples jump to mind when I think about people trying to limit me. Someone has, in the past, told me that I’m too short to pursue ballet and that I don’t have enough technique for specific variations or my lines aren’t “good enough” for certain variations. For me, I know that these people are just trying to hold me back and push me into believing that there is something wrong with me. Honestly, I have learned to ignore these unkind and insensitive words and just do my best, put all of myself into my dancing, and be the best version of myself that I can be.

How do you conquer negative talk?

I always try to ignore negativity and rise above those trying to tear me down. I also do my best to surround myself with positive people and create a supportive environment for others.

What is your favorite quote?

“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” - Author Unknown

So, what’s next? Any big plans?

First and foremost, I am looking forward to this year of growth and learning at Orlando Ballet Academy. I am also very excited to have the opportunity to perform as Clara in Orlando Ballet’s The Nutcracker later this year! I am looking forward to competing at YAGP and UBC in 2022 as well. And summer intensive auditions are right around the corner.

Nov 11, 2021

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