En Pointe: Local dancer headed to school of arts

Published 7:00 am Saturday, April 30, 2016

love of dance: Caroline Nelson’s passion for dance began when she was almost two-years-old.  Photo by Cassandra Favre

love of dance: Caroline Nelson’s passion for dance began when she was almost two-years-old.
Photo by Cassandra Favre

Dancing has been an integral component of 16-year-old Caroline Nelson’s life since she was almost two.
This fall, the Picayune native will take her passion for dance to the next level. Last month, the Pearl River Central High School sophomore learned of her acceptance into the Mississippi School of the Arts in Brookhaven.
Caroline is the daughter of Michael and Raegan. She began her dancing career at Leisha’s Dance School in Picayune.
“I was about 10 when I got real serious about dancing,” Caroline said. “I perform a little bit of everything including jazz, lyrical, ballet, tap, pointe, contemporary, modern and musical theater. My favorite is jazz. It’s upbeat and fun. Dancing makes me feel happy. I forget about everything else and focus on it. It makes me feel free.”
For the past four years, Caroline has taken dance classes at X-Finity Dance Academy in Picayune under the direction of instructor E.Jae James.
“I do not think that she is leaving me to go off to an amazing arts school, but more or less carrying on the education and training that I have instilled in her to excel,” James said. “It is certainly a bittersweet moment because she is embarking on the same path I did. I’m very proud of Caroline and I know Tammy Warren Stanford, who was my mentor, will take care of her and push her in ways that will open up so many doors in the dance/artist world.”
Caroline said she has always wanted to attend a boarding school and the Mississippi School of the Arts is the only arts school in the state. She will complete her junior and senior year of high school at the school.
Previously, Caroline attended summer camp at the Mississippi School of the Arts, so she is familiar with the school’s educational offerings.
According to the school’s website, the Mississippi School of the Arts offers students the opportunity to focus on creative expression and innovation through the study of art disciplines and academics. The school offers courses in art, dance, drama, literature and music.
“I always wanted to go to a school where I could dance more,” she said.
In order to be considered for acceptance, Caroline filled out an application, gathered recommendations, completed an essay and sent her transcript.
Once her application was accepted, Caroline auditioned with a one-minute solo and took classes.
Not many students get accepted, she explained. It was a month before Caroline heard any news regarding her admittance.
“It was the most stressful month,” she said. “When I found out I was so happy and ecstatic that I screamed.”
During her two years at the art school, Caroline plans to focus on ballet and modern techniques.
She plans to attend either the University of Mississippi or the University of Southern Mississippi after graduation and plans to continue incorporating dance into her life either, as a dance instructor or as part of a dance company.
“At MSA, there are so many opportunities, they want you to go places,” Caroline said. “There are more scholarships and opportunities. I will be able to see more of what’s possible in my future.”

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