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Local dancer selected for summer program

A local ballet dancer has been selected to train with the American Ballet Theatre this summer and couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity.

Cheyenne Nelson, 10, has been dancing since she was 2 years old and currently is a student at Allonge’ Dance Academy. She takes classes including lyrical, jazz and acro, which is a combination of dance and gymnastics.

However, she wrote in an email interview, “ballet, including pointe and technique class, is my passion and main focus.”

Cheyenne said she enjoys the storytelling aspect of ballet.

“Dance is an art,” she said. “It allows me to tell a story and create emotion through each movement and each leap. When I dance, my heart opens. I feel like no one is watching — it’s just me and the music.

“I especially love that through every lesson and performance, our eyes are fixed on God at Allonge’,” she added.

The summer intensive at the American Ballet Theatre will include dancers from around the world training in New York City for two weeks with some of the world’s premier ballet instructors.

“I’m also excited to experience the NYC ballet life and possibly see some of my favorite ballerinas, like Misty Copeland, who is a principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre,” Cheyenne wrote. “I’ve also been invited to see Mary Helen Bowers, creator of Ballet Beautiful, in her Soho ballet studio in NYC. And of course I hope to sightsee on the weekends when I’m not training. The Statue of Liberty is top on my list.”

Amanda Short, director of Allonge’ Dance Academy & Pilates Studio, said she is excited for the opportunity Cheyenne has earned.

“Cheyenne is a very focused dancer,” Short wrote in an email. “She takes her training seriously, asks questions to ensure her understanding, and works very hard to remember the corrections she is given and implement them quickly.”

Short also said Cheyenne practices at home, seeks additional training and advice and is a great teacher’s assistant in the classes for 3- and 4-year-olds.

In the past, Cheynne has performed various roles in the academy’s Christmas ballets, including an angel, magi, spirit and streetsweeper, and also dances with the ensemble at various events.

Short said the American Ballet Theatre has a great reputation and is sure to help develop Cheyenne as a dancer.

“We know that Cheyenne will return with even greater passion bearing the fingerprints of ABT’s training — a strong, versatile, elegant dancer with complete composure and control,” Short wrote.

Cheyenne said she is honored to have been accepted into the program.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to train at ABT, because they train some of the world’s top ballerinas, and it’s my dream to one day become a principal dancer, too.”

The program is currently set for August.