Houston teen gives up traditional school to focus on ballet

Tara McCally started dancing when she was just 2 years old, long before she can even remember. What she does remember is why she's been doing it for going on 13 years.

Tara McCally started dancing when she was just 2 years old, long before she can even remember. What she does remember is why she’s been doing it for going on 13 years.

Tara McCally, now 15, started dancing when she was about 2 years old.

“I love going on stage and being whoever I want to be,” says the 15-year-old Houston native.

McCally has studied at The Harid Conservatory, The School of American Ballet in New York City, American Ballet Theater (ABT), Lexington Ballet and Texas Joffrey Workshop. Her effort has paid off, landing her a spot as a principal dancer in the Bay Area Houston Ballet company in Dickinson.

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The high school sophomore logs hours in the studio like most adults do in the office, sometimes dancing up to eight hours a day. As you might imagine, it’s tough to fit that into traditional high school schedule McCally, whose mom is a teacher, opted to go to school online through Texas Virtual Academy.

“It’s been amazing,” she says. “They’re really flexible with my schedule and all the teachers really try to get to know you. It’s super nice.”

Even though she still has a few years left before graduation, McCally says she’s already focused on the future.

“The plan is to get into a company and just focus on that for a year,” she explains. “Then I’ll start looking at colleges.”

McCally knows she’s giving up a lot while giving everything she’s got and she hopes it pays off.

“I love it,” she says. “I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

McCally is performing in a weekend show at University of Houston Clear Lake. The Bay Area Houston Ballet is putting on “Raising the Bar.” Click here for dates and times.