By Frank Lee
St. Cloud Times
March 2, 2014
[Freeport, Minnesota, USA] – Karrie Feldewerd hopes to see her son’s name in lights some day, and the aspiring ballet dancer is a step closer to making that a reality. Her 12-year-old son, Ty, received a full scholarship for tuition in ballet and jazz to the Joffrey Ballet School, one of the oldest and most prestigious schools.
“I am very proud of him,” Feldewerd said as she looked at the shy sixth-grader. “It’s a huge, huge accomplishment. And for a dancer, Joffrey is world-renowned.”
The 39-year-old wife and mother of five drives her son to the Summit Dance Shoppe in Plymouth from their dairy farm in Freeport three times a week for ballet instruction.
The Melrose student became interested in the fine arts when his 13-year-old sister, Lexi, needed a dance partner. “When I was little, I loved to dance, and he’s like my best friend, so whenever I danced, I made him come dance with me,” said Lexi, an eighth-grader. “We did a hip-hop class together, and he’s been dancing ever since.”
Ty Feldewerd is a boy of few words, but when he practices his ballet moves on the wooden floor in the family’s farm house, he comes alive.
They went to an audition for the Joffrey earlier this month at TU Dance in St. Paul, a nonprofit professional dance organization founded in 2004. That led to his scholarship. “We went for a good experience … and just to learn a little bit and have fun doing it,” his mother said of their trips to Plymouth. “Never did I think that we would get a full scholarship.”
They have not decided exactly when he will attend the New York City-based school because of his other dance commitments, but are planning to go sometime in July. “For this area, it’s very unique,” she said of her son’s passion for the performing arts. “He’s gotten picked on and called a lot of names for doing it, but I think that made him stronger and want it even more.”
In the next room, he twirled on one foot effortlessly, arms outstretched in a dizzying display of athleticism and grace.
“For this area, it’s tough for a boy to dance,” she said. “They don’t have much around here for his ability.”
The Joffrey dancer is also trained in multiple other forms of dance including jazz, modern, contemporary, hip-hop, character and more, according to the school.
“He’s grown so much in this last year,” she said of her son’s instruction at Summit Dance Shoppe. “But he’ll learn a ton at Joffrey.”
He has to register for either the New York City or Los Angeles location of the school and the seven-week program by Monday. “We started a fundraiser site for Ty because it will cost about $1,000 a week to stay out there with housing and food,” she said.
The dance training at the school has been designed into age-appropriate levels, factoring in the maturity and dance experience of each student.
His advice for other boys interested in ballet or pursuing their passion: “Just give it your all, and don’t give up.”
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