W.Va. teen reaching for his star

May 09, 2010|By DAVE McMILLION
  • Shannon Giles loves dancing as a way of communicating with people.
By Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN -- Shannon Giles is sitting in an upstairs conference room of the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, dreaming about his future in dance.

The 16-year-old Falling Waters, W.Va., youth said he does not want to teach dance or run a studio.

He talks about some other possibilities, then he focuses.

"I want to be a star. Yeah, a star," Shannon said.

Things are looking up for Shannon, who recently learned that he received a full scholarship to attend a summer dance program at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City's Greenwich Village.

The ballet school was founded in 1953 by Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino to develop and train professional dancers, according to the school's website. The school has remained on the forefront of American dance education and is the only ballet school in New York City that offers a well-rounded dance curriculum, according to the website.


Discovering that he would be spending the summer in New York City and soaking up the city's art culture was a big moment for Shannon.

"It took awhile for it all to sink in," he said.

Shannon grew up in Falling Waters and began taking classes at the Academy of Dance in Martinsburg, W.Va.

One of a set of triplets, Shannon said his two brothers also took dance lessons.

"They stopped after the first year. I kept going," Giles said.

Shannon spent his freshman year of high school at Hedgesville (W.Va.) High School, then came to Barbara Ingram School for the Arts in Hagerstown.

Shannon said his father took an interest in the local arts school, to which his parents pay tuition.

Shannon said he took tap and jazz dancing lessons, then moved to ballet. In addition to continuing the study of jazz and tap dancing, he has been taking modern, hip-hop and contemporary dance training at Barbara Ingram School for the Arts.

Shannon said he loves dancing as a way of communicating with people.

As far as the future, Shannon said he is only focusing on the eight-week program in New York City.

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