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At age 13, Rani Higgins got a chance this year that many dancers or ballet students don’t get a chance to do. She was accepted into the extensive summer workshop at the prestigious Joffrey Ballet School in Chicago.
“We basically worked on perfecting things and we worked on our dance character,” said Higgins.
Higgins, a classical ballet dancer at New Albany School of Ballet and Dance Arts, sent in an audition tape in January and received the notice earlier this summer that she got the chance to go to Joffrey Ballet Studio.
Justine Stewart, Rani’s instructor, said, “Rani is a joy to teach. She is eager to work and anxious to learn new things.”
Stewart is also the owner and director of New Albany School of Ballet and Dance Arts and is the artistic director of The New Albany Ballet Company. Higgins is beginning her sixth year of tutelage under Stewart this month in classical ballet training.
“I love everything about ballet. I feel so free. Ballet calms me and sometimes I feel like I am flying. I love it,” said Higgins.
She went to Joffrey for three weeks at the end of June and the beginning of July and she said she learned so much in the workshop. The Joffrey Ballet School has a goal of transforming passionate dance students into versatile, individualistic artists able to collaborate and evolve fluidly in a fast-changing society.
“We learned about modern and jazz ballet, we had an improv class, we learned about dance history and music theory, and we had a live musician in our studio,” said Higgins. “For me, the workshop has built confidence in me. I am very glad I went. Next year I am going to audition for another workshop.”
This May will be Higgins’ 11th year dancing. She is also a Sr. Company member of the New Albany Ballet Company.
Stewart said, “Rani’s desire to expand her dance education through master classes and workshops will continue to push her toward her end goal of becoming a professional dancer.”
Higgins is a student at Guntown Middle School and is the daughter of John and Lisa Higgins.