Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Dance teaches focus and discipline

When Alex Correa needed a new pair of ballet shoes last spring, he inherited a hand-me-down pair from another dancer at the Patel Conservatory, William Dugan.
Correa, left, with last year's Fritz, William
The shoes had the name Fritz written in them, the role Dugan played in last year’s The Nutcracker.
“William is a really good role model for him,” said Tammy Correa, Alex’s mom. “Alex thought they were his lucky shoes.”
Apparently, they were. In addition to the shoes, Alex inherited the role of Fritz in this year’s The Nutcracker.
“When we had auditions, I was thinking, if you don’t get it, it’s still an honor to be part of the production,” said the 12-year-old dancer from Davis Island. “When I got Fritz, I was on cloud nine!”
Correa started at the Patel Conservatory in an arts sampler summer camp when he was nine years old. There were very few boys in the dance program at the time.
With help from a financial aid scholarship, he was able to continue in dance, where he’s grown with the dance program, which now boasts technique classes just for boys.
The program has given Correa more than just dance training, it’s taught him the rewards of focus and discipline.
“When I started in ballet, I had bad ADHD,” said Correa. “I couldn’t concentrate...I couldn’t sit still. I hated schoolwork. It was terrible.”
Now, both Correa and his mom have seen an overall change in his ability to study and focus.
“[Dance] has instilled confidence in him, and shown him that nothing is insurmountable,” said Tammy. “He knows that with determination and focus he can do things that he was unsuccessful at before, like sitting down and giving an hour to math.”
“Being in a ballet class, I can concentrate, I don’t know why,” said Correa. “When you’re in a ballet class, it’s a lot of discipline, you’re always doing something.”
And the discipline has paid off with his new role as Clara’s mischievous brother.
“Even though ballet has a lot of rules, whenever I dance I feel free and alive,” said Alex. “That’s why I wanted the part of Fritz...because I love to be on stage and perform.”

For more about this year's The Nutcracker at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, click here.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats Alex! We are proud of you!