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Volume 24, Number 10 — October 2017

Youth Spotlight: Moria Frazier

Proving Myself A Valuable Experience

By Moria Frazier | December 24, 2007

Even though I had taken guest ballet classes from Kevin Martin countless times, walking into an audition with him was totally different, especially since the audition was for the Nutmeg Conservatory of the Arts in Connecticut, one of the most respected ballet schools in the country. Students from all over the world travel to Nutmeg's elite programs.

I've wanted to go to the Nutmeg summer program since I was nine years old (now I'm 15). But this idea wasn't plausible until my home studio, the Highlands Center for Ballet Arts in Abingdon, was put on the audition list last winter.

Audition day came, and the Highlands studio was packed with dancers from throughout Virginia and Tennessee. Even though it was my home studio, with a teacher I knew, the atmosphere seemed so different, and I was nervous.

We waited almost two hours while the younger children auditioned. Since the first group ran long, Mr. Martin had us do only a few combinations. It all went so fast — we did jumps, turns, and adagio, and then we were done. I did my best, and then waited several weeks for the results. I made it!

I saved up my babysitting money and allowance to help pay tuition and buy five pairs of pointe shoes, since I would wear them out quickly. I worked hard to prepare, along with Abigail Bice, another Highlands dancer who would attend Nutmeg at the same time.

The first time I saw the Conservatory, I thought it was so beautiful ? three stories high, with the front made of glass. We went to an orientation in the Premier Studio, which was like a glass cube; it was so inspiring to look out those floor-to-ceiling windows at the rolling river valley beyond.

The first day was the hardest as I tried to get used to almost eight hours of ballet every day. We were all sore at first, but that faded as we adjusted to the amount of work. We got used to the way of things at Nutmeg: the eccentric personalities of our teachers, and how to take their corrections and use them in a positive way.

After the first week, we rehearsed for our performance, and struggled to perfect it, then had fun in the dorms at night playing Uno and talking. The last day came too quickly, and we prepared ourselves to dance one last time in the breathtaking Premier Studio. We realized that this once-in-a-lifetime experience was really coming to a close.

Although the classes at Nutmeg were a challenge, I felt ready. My teachers at Highlands Ballet prepared me to dance somewhere else, outside my comfort zone. Highlands gave me the tools I needed to be successful and improve. And I did improve — not only technically — I also gained confidence as a dancer. Going to Nutmeg was one of the most valuable things I have ever done. It was a great experience, definitely worth all the hard work.

Editor's Notes:

— - Moria Frazier commutes from her home in Johnson City, Tenn. to Abingdon, Va. five days a week, more often if necessary, for dance instruction and rehearsals at Highlands Ballet Center.

— - Nutmeg Conservatory in Connecticut is one of the top three ballet companies in the nation. Students audition from across the country; they only accept 55 girls into the summer intensive program.




Moria Frazier


Two young dancers who studied ballet under Jo Rosser in Bristol also attended the summer workshop at the Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts in Connecticut. From left, Ashley Norman and Alexa Whitman shared the role of Clara in the 2005 Theatre of Ballet Arts production of "The Nutcracker."