Students travel to New York City


By Kristy D. Carter - [email protected]



Local voice and dance students Isabelle Moore and Melina Matthews get ready for the morning classes at the Joffrey Ballet School Summer Intensive program in New York City.


Blake Bellanger travels on a New York City subway to get to his summer hip hop classes at the Joffrey Ballet School in Queens.


A recent trip north to New York City was a dream come true for three local dance and voice students.

Students from The Performing Arts School were invited to attend the Joffrey Ballet School summer intensive as part of a learning opportunity with the prestigious summer program.

Isabelle Moore, Blake Bellanger and Melina Matthews were invited after auditioning in January to attend the summer classes in June and July. Moore and Matthews attended sessions for two weeks, while Bellanger attended for one week.

“Dance students appreciate the art form more when that have concentrated time in that area,” PAS owner and artistic director Suzi Matthews said. “Any time a student can attend a summer intensive, it allows them to thrive.”

According to the dance instructor, Moore participated in the two-week program for musical theater. She was given an opportunity to work with Broadway performers from the show “An American in Paris” and “Matilda.”

During her two week sessions, the 16-year-old was given the chance to take classes in singing, dancing and acting at the Joffrey Ballet School’s newly renovated studio in Queens.

“One of the highlights of the summer was experiencing the acting classes offered on Wednesdays in the park,” Moore said.

Matthews also attended the summer program to study musical theatre. During her second week attending, Misty Copeland, principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre, was a guest lecturer. Students had the opportunity to have a question and answer session with Copeland.

“I could hardly breathe because I was so excited about seeing Misty Copeland,” Matthews expressed. “It was like a dream come true.”

Not only were Moore and Matthews given the opportunity to work with members of the cast of the Broadway productions, they attended the shows live. During one performance, they girls were invited back stage to meet cast members.

While in New York, the girls stayed in housing and had a chance to ride a subway everyday, as well as be responsible for getting themselves to where they needed to be on time.

While attending the one-week program, Bellanger participated in the Joffrey Hip-Hop Intensive. During his classes, he was able to learn different dance styles, but focused mostly on hip hop.

“I really enjoyed meeting other dancers in the program,” Bellanger said. “It was intense, and I was exhausted by the end of the week.”

According to the local dance teacher, the students experienced the life of a dancer in New York City.

“All three of my students worked hard, but they came out stronger from this experience,” Suzi Matthews said.

Moore is the daughter of Kenney and Karen Moore of Mount Olive. She has appeared in numerous performances at the Sampson Community Theatre and is currently performing with the Clayton Youth Theater in their production of “The Little Mermaid.”

Matthews is the daughter of Neal and Suzi Matthews of Clinton. She has appeared in the SCT production of “The Little Mermaid” and is shooting her second Blue Cross and Blue Shield commercial with soccer legend Mia Hamm.

Bellanger is the son of Ryan and Tracie Bellanger of Clinton. He has appeared in SCT’s production of “Cats” and successfully raised funds in January with a benefit concert and completed the renovations on the theater’s dressing room as part of his Eagle Scout project.

Local voice and dance students Isabelle Moore and Melina Matthews get ready for the morning classes at the Joffrey Ballet School Summer Intensive program in New York City.
http://clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_Dance1.jpgLocal voice and dance students Isabelle Moore and Melina Matthews get ready for the morning classes at the Joffrey Ballet School Summer Intensive program in New York City.

Blake Bellanger travels on a New York City subway to get to his summer hip hop classes at the Joffrey Ballet School in Queens.
http://clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_Dance2.jpgBlake Bellanger travels on a New York City subway to get to his summer hip hop classes at the Joffrey Ballet School in Queens.

By Kristy D. Carter

[email protected]

Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.

Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.

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