Local Student Leaps to Prestigious Dance School

 Local Student Leaps to Prestigious Dance School

By Kami-Leigh Agard

Once upon a time, there was a local three-year-old little girl whose dreams were filled with pink tutus and dancing at Mrs. Elaine’s Dance Studio. And today, the now 15-year-old Scholar’s Academy sophomore, Sophie Creamer, with her acceptance to the internationally acclaimed Joffrey Ballet School’s Trainee Jazz and Contemporary Preprofessional BFA program in New York City, will be leaping across a major stage in the big city of big dreams and bright lights. However, with every dream comes sacrifice as the funds needed for Creamer’s tuition and housing at Joffrey, plus finishing her high school education online is amounting to a staggering cost. She and her family need the community’s help and have launched a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of $200K.

The Joffrey Ballet School, centrally located in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, was founded in 1953 by Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino to develop and train professional dancers. Dancers and choreographers from all over the world regard Joffrey as one of the premiere institutions of dance instruction. For more than 57 years, Joffrey’s students have graduated and gone on to dance with world-class ballet companies, including the Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, NYC Ballet, Houston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and other companies throughout North America, Europe and Australia. Students and graduates have won countless grants and scholarships, including the pre-eminent Princess Grace Foundation Award.

For Creamer, dancing is a form of self-expression, and like Joffrey’s founders, she thrives on dance that is imbued on intensive training of movement, clarity, and exuberant energy, which she selflessly attributes to her teachers and training at Rockaway Beach Dance Company (RBDC).  In person, Creamer appears to be tiny and timid, but just watch her dance and see her soul explode.

Creamer shared that her love for dance began at Miss Elaine’s, and when the local dance school transitioned to RBDC under Director Tiffany Turchi, it exploded.

“I started with ballet and tap. When I started dance, I was just a baby and was scared, but I really got into it when I joined RBDC’s competition team. I’ve trained with RBDC for 13 years, and it’s there I discovered my love of contemporary and jazz, plus choreography. I zoned in on contemporary dance and choreography because it’s such an open slate, and it brings in so many different elements of each dance style,” Creamer said.

As for how she discovered Joffrey, the seemingly shy, but determined dancer shared, “Joffrey is known in the dance community and revered. I signed up for their winter program in 2022. Though it was just for a weekend, I really enjoyed it. And during the program, they had auditions for their 2023 summer program. I got in for jazz and contemporary. I loved it so much that this past January, I tried out for their full-year program, which was also for prospective BFA trainees. It didn’t really register that I was even capable of achieving something like that. So, when they called my mom in February, then sent an email, it really was a big dream come true.

“I was just kind of sitting in shock for a bit because I couldn’t even believe it. Joffrey gave us some time to think about it because it’s a very big decision, intense program, plus all the money involved. I’m so grateful that my family is 100% behind my decision to grab this opportunity at Joffrey, which also sadly means leaving Scholars’.”

As for what the audition was like, Creamer, who says she loves choreography and improv, said, “First the auditioner had us on the floor in small groups doing improv, which is probably my favorite part of dance. Then she gave us a combination, and it was jazz to a Rihanna song. I really enjoyed doing it. And then when I saw that she put my number in a different pile, I thought I’d messed up, not knowing that I got in.”

As for how she prepared for this pivotal moment in her dance career, the young dancer credits all of her teachers at RBDC and Turchi for helping her find her step with dance.

“My dance teachers, Alyssa, Leann, Stephanie, Cortney and Tiffany are the most supportive people I’ve ever met. They’re like my second family. And they don’t only care about dance, they care about us as a community of dancers. So, I love them, and they all have helped me really push my training and dancing to what they knew it could be. I just never knew that my career in dance could rise to this level, but RBDC really prepares us as students. Plus, in memory of Miss Elaine, at three years old, it’s with her this journey of dance started,” Creamer shared.

As for her bittersweet farewell with Scholars’, she said, “Scholars’ education is very accelerated, especially for math and science, so I’m prepped for this next challenge at Joffrey. It’s going to be really bittersweet because I’ve gone there since middle school, but I’ve talked to my guidance counselors, teachers, friends at school, and they’re all really supportive. However honestly, I think the harder ‘goodbye’ will be to RBDC.”

As for what she would impart to other young girls, who have what seems like far flung aspirations, Creamer said, “I think of all younger dancers, little girls from my dance studio, who always say they want to be a ballerina or something like that. When I was younger, I always admired the older dancers at my studio. So, I think if I was a younger student seeing someone that I know personally achieve something like this or even bigger, I would be amazed and hopeful. So, I hope that all dancers whatever age, can be inspired by this.”

As for Creamer’s mom, Lori Eisenberg Creamer, though she flat-out stated that she won’t be on the Lifetime show, “Dance Moms,” she’s over the moon and proud of her dancer daughter. Emotionally, she shared, “My husband and I are just in awe of Sophie, and we believe and back her fully. We know she can do whatever she sets her mind to. She’s such a capable, talented dancer, and we just know that this opportunity will open up so many doors for her.”

With boots (not ballet shoes) on the ground, the Creamer family really needs all the help they can get to make Sophie’s dance aspirations at Joffrey come to fruition. For more information, and to donate towards their GoFundMe campaign, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-sophies-joffrey-dream

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