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By Craig Manning
The Ticker
November 30, 2012

Dayne Sempert, 12, wiil be the Prince in Dance Arts Academy's Nutcracker 2012[Michigan, USA] – On any given weekday at Traverse City’s Dance Arts Academy, hundreds of local girls and young women are leaping, pirouetting, and rehearsing for the big Nutcracker performance to run December 14-16.

Look more closely, and you’ll notice something that really stands out: a boy. Dayne Sempert, a twelve year-old from Elk Rapids, is driven the half hour trip by his mother Dina five times a week for fifteen hours of training to prepare for the role of his life: the Nutcracker Prince himself.

Dayne is the latest in line of Dance Arts’ storied history of producing future male dance stars: every male dancer Co-Owner and teacher Betsy Carr has trained a year or more has gone on to a professional career.

Dayne’s driven by much more than his mother. Three years ago, he began watching Michael Jackson videos, trying to mimic his moves. He says it helped get him into a “dancing mood” that hasn’t stopped since. He soon explored hip hop and modern dance techniques, eventually learning to love all dance, and joining Traverse City’s premiere ballet company.

“We had talked to all the faculty [at Dance Arts] and it seemed like a really friendly environment for me,” Dayne says. “Being one of the only boys is a pretty good thing, actually.”

Carr doesn’t get caught up in old stigmas about men in a predominantly women’s world. “If they love it, they are going to work,” Carr says. “If they get the right training, they are going to have a career that will take them all over the world and make them good money.”

“Everyone’s end goal is doing what they love, so why should there be stigma against it?” she reasons. “I don’t personally see any stigma at all, but I know that there is still one out there in the general public. But there are so many TV shows on with really strong male dancers, so hopefully that is helping.”

Dayne himself is unfazed; he’s already looking beyond Nutcracker to what his dancing could bring, from teaching to touring to setting down in Manhattan’s performing arts district.

See Dayne and the full cast of Tchaikovsky’s classic Nutcracker on-stage December 14-16 at Milliken Auditorium. Tickets are in very short supply, so call soon at 231.941.4234.

© 2012 The Business News

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