Bully Ballet

(WSVN) — Lots of kids deal with bullying. But one local teen who found a way to battle back — through ballet! 7’s Lynn Martinez shows us in today’s Parent to Parent.

When Gavin was in middle school he became the target of bullies.

Gavin Nicholson: “I was usually bullied for my height, being very short for my age.”

Like many bullied kids, Gavin felt lost and alone.

Gavin Nicholson: “Usually, people would say, ‘Oh, you’re never going to grow, you’re going to stay this height, you’re puny’ and all of that.”

A teacher took notice and encouraged him to sign up for AileyCamp Miami at the Adrienne Arsht Center.

Jairo Ontiveros: “It’s a six week full scholarship program, especially for Miami-Dade County Public School Students.”

The program teaches different forms of dance but also focuses on a child’s personal development.

Jairo Ontiveros: “It’s about us making sure that our youth have the social skills, life skills that they need, before going into those tough years of high school.”

Program Director Jairo Ontiveros says performing arts can help shy kids shine.

Jairo Ontiveros: “This program really gives them that avenue, that trajectory, that open door for them to come out of their shell.”

He encourages kids to really explore who they want to be and then focus on becoming that person.

Jairo Ontiveros: “There’s a lot of discipline and commitment to dance.”

But he warns parents not to force it saying kids need to find their passion on their own.

Jairo Ontiveros: “I always tell my parents at the parents orientation to encourage curiosity, let your child ask all the questions that they want.”

Gavin didn’t even know he had a natural ability for dance until he gave it a try.

He was so good, last year, he landed a role in the Nutcracker and now instead of hiding from bullies, he performs in front of audiences!

Gavin Nicholson: “It’s like I’m by myself just dancing, everything stops.”

He says dance helped him overcome his fears. He tells other kids who are bullied to keep moving forward and don’t believe what they say.

Gavin Nicholson: “I know that I’m like awesome, you just gotta block the haters.”

Lynn Martinez: Gavin was offered a full scholarship to the Miami City Ballet. Way to go Gavin.