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NYC Ballet Dancer To Be Honored In His Hometown of St. Petersburg

Dec 16, 2016

A dancer for New York's American Ballet Theatre will receive the keys to the city of St. Petersburg on Saturday.

Calvin Royal III will be honored at the Mahaffey Theater before a production of "The Family Blessing," formerly known as "The Chocolate Nutcracker."

It's a stage Royal knows well. He danced there for many years when he was a student at the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School in St. Pete.

Royal took his first ballet class at the age of 14 and admits that makes him a late bloomer in the dance world.

"I had never taken ballet before and it was pretty overwhelming,” he said. “I remember kind of looking around and hoping that I was doing the right thing and after the class, I was admitted into the dance program."

Royal said he still remembers the early morning wake up calls to get to his training on time.

"My freshman and sophomore year, we would have ballet class at 7:05 every morning,” he said. “Now where I'm dancing on stages all over the U.S and all over the world really, all of those sacrifices that I made; it was definitely worth it."

Royal won a scholarship to train in New York City during his senior year at Gibbs.

He’s gone on to dance in national productions of shows like “Swan Lake” and “Sleeping Beauty.”

This month, the dancer is on tour with American Ballet Theatre’s production of "The Nutcracker" starring the company's first black principal dancer, Misty Copeland.

"The Family Blessing" will be performed at the Mahaffey Theatre Saturday at 2:30 and 7:30.