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Ballet student takes lessons seriously

May 18, 2009|By TRISH RUDDER

 BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- It was not easy to find a dance instructor who would train Taylor Haines at age 2 1/2.

She began "moving to the beat" at an early age, said her mother, Gerri Haines, and Taylor always said she wanted to be a ballet dancer. Her parents encouraged her to try other things, which she did, but her favorite is ballet.

"I want to be able to dance," Taylor said.

Taylor, 14, has been studying with Yvonne Salcedo Williams, the founding artistic director of Arts Triumphant Dance Theatre, a performing arts retreat center in Berkeley Springs.

Williams was a member of the Pittsburgh Ballet and at Ballet Florida, where she was trained.

Taylor was chosen recently to participate in a summer workshop for dance students at the Academy of Ballet Florida in West Palm Beach, based on Williams' recommendation. Auditions are held throughout the country, Williams said.

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"It is one of the top schools and companies in the country. I wanted to help Taylor advance her goals," Williams said.

"These are small classes," she said. "I want Taylor to go to a place where she will get individual attention, and these world-renowned teachers will work with her and challenge her."

Cami Coulter, a friend of Taylor's, will also attend Ballet Florida's summer program, Williams said. Cami primarily attends Inwood (W.Va.) Performing Arts Co. for ballet training, but works with Williams three days a month.

Taylor is an honor-roll eighth-grader at Warm Springs Middle School in Berkeley Springs.

"Grades come first, and special interests are second," Gerri Haines said.

Taylor said her goal following school is to be part of one of the top five ballet companies. She is considering applying to Point Park University in Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Ballet Co. has an apprenticeship program that might be right for Taylor, her mother said.

She began taking lessons in Westminster, Md., and the family moved to Berkeley Springs in 2002. Taylor continued ballet training at Inwood Performing Arts.

In 2008, she began studying exclusively at the Arts Triumphant studio with Williams.

"I'm learning more and faster. I love it," Taylor said.

She and student Allexa Branham are preparing for their Spring Into Dance recital on May 29 at the studio.

Taylor said she "can't wait" for the Academy of Ballet Florida workshop.

"Dance is the beauty of my heart and the movement of my soul," Taylor said.

For more information about Arts Triumphant, go to www.artstriumphant.org.

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