Middle school student dances his way into prestigious ballet program

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When Stockard Middle School eighth-grader Jordan Lovelace dances, heads turn.

He immediately captures the attention of everyone in the room. That’s exactly what happened when he auditioned for the School of American Ballet in January. His grace and technique not only won Lovelace one of 200 spots in the ballet company’s national summer intensive, but it also garnered him a scholarship to cover his tuition for the five-week program that begins in June.

Andrea Soto, Lovelace’s dance teacher at L.V. Stockard Middle School, is beyond proud of her star student and is overjoyed at his opportunity to train with some of the most talented dancers in the country.

“Just to get in is a feat,” said Soto, who has worked with Lovelace since sixth grade. “The fact that they are rewarding him with this scholarship is absolutely amazing.”

Although he has further developed his skills in middle school, Lovelace’s love for dance began early on while attending George Washington Carver Learning Center. It was his dance teacher at Carver, Rebecca Breed, who first recognized Jordan’s natural ability.

“He just grew by leaps and bounds at an unbelievable rate,” she said. “I knew by our final performance of the year that this was his calling. He can do anything you throw at him, from ballet to modern, jazz to folkloric, and anything in between.”

Lovelace recalls those early years of dance with fondness.

“That’s when I began falling in love with dance and decided it was what I wanted to do as a profession,” Lovelace said. “When I dance, I feel that I can be myself.

With Breed’s guidance, Lovelace auditioned and received a full scholarship to the Dallas Conservatory, one of the city’s respected venues for dance students. He trains there five hours a day, six days a week.

Lovelace brings the same level of discipline to academics, another area in which he excels. According to Soto, other students look up to Lovelace, whom she calls a “quiet leader,” because he leads by example.

“He raises the standard in class and in the dance company, but he is humble, gracious, and fits in with others as one of the team,” Soto said.

Next school year, Lovelace will attend Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Upon graduation, he plans to further pursue his dance career by attending Julliard.

“In my mind, the sky is the limit,” Breed said. “I see him most definitely dancing at a professional level.”

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