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Local Teen Ballerina Recognized With Princess Grace Award

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - She's already proven herself to be a stand-out performer, and now she's stealing the spotlight once again.

The Pennsylvania Ballet's Sydney Dolan is being recognized as one of the top emerging artists in the entire country.

When she takes the stage this season, Dolan will bring with her a brand new title. She's now a 2018 Princess Grace Award Winner, one of only six dancers nationally honored with the title this year.

"This isn't real," Dolan says. "It almost felt like it was a dream."

Dolan's career has skyrocketed as a member of the Pennsylvania Ballet. Last year, at just 16, she landed her first professional lead as Dew Drop in The Nutcracker. She then went on to dance solos in other ballets and was quickly promoted from apprentice to corps de ballet.

"I just started crying," Dolan recalls. "I couldn't believe it."

The Princess Grace Foundation will provide grant money to further support her growth. After all, to see her elegance on the dance floor, it's easy to forget Dolan is only 17 years old.

"Something there just takes your breath away," Executive Director of the Princess Grace Foundation Toby Boshak says. "Her kicks and her turns are so precise, and you're just swept away."

But this success has not come without struggle.

"All the nights taking ice baths, and icing my feet and my knees, and laying with my feet up because you're just so tired," Dolan admits.

Dolan has also had to work through her own self-doubt. But now, as she becomes a role model for even younger dancers, she makes sure to take the time to offer some perspective.

"In a way, being hard on yourself can make yourself better, and build up to better things, but it can also really make your dancing suffer," Dolan says. "It's really important to make that a positive."

She's a Philly girl making her mark as an artist, just like the namesake of the her latest award -- Philly's own Grace Kelly.

"I think about where would I be if I wasn't here, there's no better place for me," she says. "This is my dream, and it's coming true."

Dolan will pick up her award on October 16th at a gala in New York City.

It'll be a busy couple of days for her. The Pennsylvania Ballet is back October 11th with its first performance of the season -- "Romeo and Juliet."


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