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A chance to dance with stars

August 31, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

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SHARPSBURG - When Rachel Doub first was introduced to ballet at 3 years old, she wouldn't dance.

"They tried to start me when I was 3, but I threw a fit," the 18-year-old Williamsport resident said.

Now, she can't wait to dance professionally, and will be going to a prestigious ballet school in New York with her longtime dance partner and boyfriend, Erik Hoffman, 18, of Sharpsburg.

The pair left Thursday for New York, and will start classes Monday at the Joffrey Ballet School.

Doub and Hoffman have been a part of a Hagerstown ballet school and the Antietam Ballet Theatre.

Doub graduated this year from Williamsport High School, and Hoffman is a 2006 graduate of Boonsboro High School. Both have been dancing for about 10 years.

Both said dancing did not come naturally for them, and it has taken almost daily ballet practice for them to be able to consider dancing professionally.


"It took me a while to develop as a dancer," Hoffman said. "It takes practice, practice, practice."

Both said they love ballet and are excited to dance in New York, but their audition with the Joffrey Ballet School almost didn't happen. They were in New York for other auditions when they saw information about the school in a dance magazine.

So in March, they planned to fly to the city to audition for Joffrey, but a snowstorm kept their plan grounded, and they were forced to take a Greyhound bus, Doub said. The bus was stopped on the highway for at least an hour, and they didn't get to New York until 4 a.m.

They went to the audition later that day.

They found out a few months later that they had been chosen, and said their decision to accept Joffrey's offer was an easy one.

"New York City, here we come," Doub said. "I've wanted to go to New York since I was 8 or 9."

Hoffman said there are more dancing opportunities there than the Orlando Ballet School and other programs that made them offers.

Classes start Tuesday, and they will take most of them together. Both said their goal is to join a professional ballet company, but until then, they both will get part-time jobs.

A typical career for a ballerina lasts until she is 35 or 40, and males retire a few years after that, Doub said. While retirement still is many years away, Doub and Hoffman said they already are thinking about their careers after ballet.

Doub was salutatorian of her high school's graduating class, and both she and Hoffman graduated with honors. They say they eventually plan to go to college.

Doub said she was editor of her school's yearbook, and she would like to work in journalism, possibly for a magazine. Hoffman said he would like to go into the medical field after his career in ballet is over.

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