08/03/06 — Local dancers get chance to learn from professionals

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Local dancers get chance to learn from professionals

By Winkie Lee
Published in News on August 3, 2006 1:47 PM

Forty-six students from four Goldsboro dancing studios are getting the opportunity to study with New York professionals.

LazarBalletnyc is in week two of an intensive work session for students from the Academy of Performing Arts, Artistic Dance Academy, Goldsboro School of Ballet and A Step of Class.

Entitled "Raising the Barre," the sessions, which began last week, are being held at the Goldsboro School of Ballet. They will conclude with a performance at Grainger Performing Arts Center in Kinston on Friday at 7 p.m. The students will dance with male members of the professional company. A performance by LazarBalletnyc will follow and will include a diversity of music and vocabulary, as well as a world premiere performed to Mexican guitar music.

Admission is $10 at the door and $8 in advance. Tickets can be purchased at the Arts Council of Wayne County, Positively Dance and the Goldsboro School of Ballet.

Led by artistic director Elie Lazar, LazarBalletnyc has as part of its mission teaching the next generation of dancers and bringing world class ballet to smaller communities.

"This program has been around the country in the past five years," he said. It has been "extremely motivating for everyone."

According to Lazar, the students not only experience growth through the training, they also get to see what it means to be a professional dancer.

After their sessions are over, they are allowed to stay and watch the professionals practice. They see them sweat, receive corrections and get paid.

"The idea is to give them and their parents the knowledge of what it is like to be in a professional environment: how they work, what kind of intensity they have to have in their routine," Lazar said.

In addition to exposure to the professional world of dance, the classes for the local dancers help the instructors, in part, because the students hear New York professionals tell them some of the same things their local teachers say.

"We're motivating them to work harder," Lazar said.

Lazar was formerly the artistic director for the Joffrey School in New York and has been in Goldsboro twice before.

This is the first time his visit has been sponsored by all four dance schools, said Michaux McMillan.

Ms. McMillan suggested the four schools come together to sponsor the visit so that the expense would be easier to handle and so that the young people could have the experience of working with professionals.

"Having the company here and (the students) being able to meet the dancers one-on-one brings the level of dance in this county up to unbelievable heights," she said.

The young people are getting the chance to learn about more than just dance, she added. The LazarBalletnyc dancers come from five countries: the United States, Brazil, Israel, Korea and Italy.

In addition to teaching the students, they are staying in their homes.

There are 10 dancers plus Lazar.

Lazar is teaching technique to the intermediate and advanced level dancers. His company members are teaching pre-pointe, pointe, pas de deux (dancing with a partner) and choreography.

Dancers ages 6 to 8 are also getting the chance to learn. For one hour a day, they are being taught basic techniques and simple step combinations.

The Friday performance is being held at Grainger Performing Arts Center due to availability, Mrs. McMillan said.

To get there, take U.S. 70 East, continue onto 70 Business/Vernon Avenue. Turn left onto North Independence Street and right onto Summit Avenue.