Annapolis dancer to study in N.Y.

June 06, 1994|By Dana Hedgpeth | Dana Hedgpeth,Sun Staff Writer

Last summer, Roxanne Listy watched in amazement as Renee Robinson and Desmond Richardson of the Alvin Ailey dance company moved their bodies across the stage at the Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival in Lee, Mass.

This summer the 17-year-old Annapolis girl will be working with the two famous dancers at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Company in New York City. The group is one of America's foremost contemporary dance companies.

Roxanne, a recent graduate of Annapolis Senior High School, will spend two years with the Ailey Certificate Program, taking 15 to 18 classes a week in modern dance, jazz, dance history and ballet.

"Alvin Ailey has always been my favorite company," said Roxanne, who took her first class with the company three years ago. "The movements they teach and use are so natural and comfortable to me."

It wasn't easy getting to the Ailey company. She had to balance her 18 hours of weekly dance practice with the needs of her academic career. She has a 3.4 grade point average.

"I've learned that I have to manage my time wisely," she said. "When I got home from school, I really did my homework and didn't waste my time because at night I've always had dance."

Although she has not gone out as much as her friends on the weekends, Roxanne said the hours spent practicing have been put to good use.

"I think I am a little more focused about my future," she said. "I know I want to be a part of a professional dance company."

She started dancing when she was 11 and has learned various techniques by dancing with different companies throughout the Baltimore and Washington areas. She said she is not intimidated by the fact she is younger than most of her colleagues.

"It pushes me more and makes me want to get better," she said. "I don't want to be looked at as the little kid in the group, so I make sure I know what I'm doing and that I'm working as hard as I can."

Even though she has always wanted to be a dancer, she was truly inspired to press on after seeing modern dance choreographer Bill T. Jones' performance at the Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival last summer.

"His whole performance was so very emotional and personal. It brought tears to my eyes," she said. "When I see others performing so well, it inspires me to work hard because I know how exciting and complete it feels to be on stage. I look at them and know that's what I want to do."

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