A Pirouette of Purpose

Ballet dancer
Carmela Arcidi '20 has studied with well-known choreographers from all around the United States.


This spring, St. Thomas Aquinas paused to publicize a variety of our students’ “less typical” achievements and accomplishments. By “less typical,” we sought to highlight students within our community who may not play on a school athletic team but who, for all intents and purposes, are highly athletic and who excel at meeting physical and mental virtues such as stamina, endurance and perseverance.  We showcased our gymnasts, equestrians, cheerleaders. We shone the spotlight on students who are loyal to instrument lessons, Scouting, and community service. We also celebrated our Saints who spend hours and hours fine-tuning the art of dance- Irish dance, ballet, tap, etc. This summer, one rising junior is setting the bar very, very high and has every intent on soaring right over it.

In January, Carmela Arcidi ’20 participated in a three-hour dance audition in Natick, MA hosted by the Joffrey Ballet. As a result of her striking performance, Joffrey accepted Carmela into its Summer Intensive program, held at various locations around the country as well as in London and Italy. Carmela has chosen to study in New York City and will participate in Joffrey’s Jazz/Contemporary Dance Intensive later this summer. This program is the “flagship Jazz and Contemporary dance intensive worldwide… and offers the classical techniques of ballet and modern as well as neoclassical derivatives of contemporary, improve, hip hop, theater dance, and more.”

In addition to being accepted into this elite program, Carmela was also accepted into Joffrey’s year-round, pre-professional program. Thankfully, Carmela will complete her final two years of high school with STA but her achievement in dance, her chosen area of focus, is nothing short of remarkable. 

“Dance is both artistic and athletic and most dancers are very committed,” says Carmela’s mother, Ann Marie. “These are hardworking individuals who learn time management, discipline, and sacrifice early in their training. Carmela dances six days a week at Karla Pattavina’s Dance Academy in Haverhill, MA with an extremely talented group of women.”

Carmela’s commitment, in combination with her participation in numerous dance conventions throughout the school year (where she has received instruction from well-known national choreographers and teachers), has led Carmela to be awarded platinum and elite platinum recognition for her lyrical solo. Her lyrical, jazz and ballet groups received high score awards at five different competitions this past year.

One of St. Thomas Aquinas High School’s tag lines is “Aim High, Soar Higher.” It evolved from the realization that our Saints are continuously challenged- by their faculty, by their orchestra conductors, by their theater directors, by their athletic coaches and by themselves- to raise their personal bar. Their goals are set high and, time and time again, Saints far surpass even their own expectations. Carmela and her accomplishments illustrate the self-possession, vision and tremendous focus required of someone who aspires to greatness. We are deeply proud of her and look forward to watching her goals meet fruition- and then soar to new heights.