While other Ridgefield students her age are beginning their junior year at Ridgefield High School, Izzy will take a combination of academic classes at E.C. Glass High School in Lynchburg, and dance and theater classes at Virginia School of the Arts. She will be living in a dormitory on the arts school campus.
“I’m going to absorb everything they have to offer,” the young dancer said Thursday as she toured the Virginia campus. “I’m so excited to be here. Most of the dancers who study here go on to dance professionally.”
The Virginia School of the Arts offers an intensive dance curriculum and a full academic program. Students follow a course of study designed to develop physical strength, mental acuity, placements, flexibility and the musicality necessary to advance to the next level, said James Robey, Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance artistic director. Robey has taught Izzy dance since she was 3. He put her in local productions of “The Nutcracker” and encouraged her to perform at the Jazz Dance World Congress in Chicago and with the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, the Boston Ballet and the American Academy of Ballet.
This summer, she danced at the Carolina Ballet in South Carolina, and it was there she was seen by a member of the board of the Virginia School of the Arts. She was invited to audition for the school and was accepted.
“Izzy is a talented young dancer and perhaps the hardest working student I have met,” Robey said. “I am proud of her achievements but not surprised. She has what it takes.”
Izzy said she had an “epiphany” when she was 12 and realized she wanted to make dance her career. She dropped interscholastic sports like lacrosse and threw herself into an intensive regimen of dance.
“I love performing,” Izzy said. “I’m in every production the Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance does. I can’t get enough of it. I was in the Christmas Spectacular at the Ridgefield Playhouse and worked with (Broadway actress) Debbie Gravitte. She was fun to work with.”