When former international ballet star Jean-Hugues Feray decided to open his own dance school in Jupiter in early 2009, the Keavy family took notice. They recognized Feray immediately after her years of professional dancing with the first Ballet Florida and were one of the first families to enroll their then 4-year-old daughter Clare in dance lessons at her new school. Their daughter quickly fell in love with ballet, and today – after 13 years of training with Feray at her acclaimed Paris Ballet and Dance – Clare, now 17, has secured a coveted trainee spot at Sarasota Ballet on the west coast of Florida.
“I am so proud that one of the very first ballet students of Paris Ballet has obtained such a prestigious training place in a great ballet company,” said Feray. “It’s wonderful to see one of my students come full circle like this. Clare is incredibly driven and talented, and I can’t wait to see where her professional career takes her.”
Founded in 1987, Sarasota Ballet is a full-fledged resident professional ballet company with an extensive repertoire that has achieved international acclaim. With rave reviews in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Dance Europe and Dancing Times, Sarasota Ballet has been invited to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, the City Center and the Joyce Theater in New York, among others. The Sarasota Ballet Intern Program offers talented students a comprehensive program designed to prepare them for the next steps in their dance career.
“Sarasota Ballet’s repertoire is truly amazing,” Clare said. “I’m so excited to start dancing with the Intern Program and I’m so grateful for this amazing opportunity to start my professional career here in Florida.”
Cast in the role of Clara at the age of 9 in Paris Ballet’s annual Nutcracker production, Clare said she knew then that she would pursue a career as a professional ballerina. In eighth grade, she began her training at the Paris Ballet Conservatoire de Paris, an elite accelerated training program for students preparing for professional dance careers. She has spent the past four years averaging about 20 hours a week of rigorous dance training with the Ballet de Paris. Clare also excelled academically; she completed her schoolwork (via Florida Virtual School’s flexible program) at such an accelerated pace that she graduated from high school a full year earlier this month.
“It’s been great growing up with Mr. Jean as a mentor,” Clare said, referring to the name many students call Feray. “He guided me every step of the way and taught me a lot. His training gave me the best opportunities and prepared me for the next steps in my career.”
In addition to the role of Clara, other favorite roles during her years with the Paris Ballet included the Sugar Plum Fairy, the BLACK SWAN, the White Swan, the Fairy Godmother from Cinderella and dancing the famous pas de deux from Corsair and pas de trois from Swan Lake. . She has participated in summer programs in France at the Stage International de Danse d’Arcachon and the Paris Opera Ballet School, as well as the intensive summer and winter courses at the Ballet de Paris. , and placed annually in the famous Youth America Grand Prix international ballet competition. She also received offers from Nashville Ballet and Milwaukee Ballet, but ultimately decided Sarasota Ballet was the best fit.
This summer, Clare will travel to Sarasota, where she earned a full scholarship for the Sarasota Ballet Summer Program before starting the Internship Program in the fall.
And his family is exceptionally proud.
“The training Clare received at Paris Ballet was second to none,” said her mother, Christi Keavy. “Jean-Hugues Feray’s dedication and instruction has enabled Clare to obtain a world-class dance education right here in Jupiter. Clare has received numerous scholarships over the years, had her pick of prestigious dance programs training and is now on her way to a professional career – all thanks to the incredible training and mentorship she received at the Ballet et danse de Paris and the Conservatoire de danse de Paris.”
Clare can be seen performing at the Kravis Center during the Paris Ballet’s final performance of the season on June 11 at 7:30 p.m.: a mixed end-of-year showcase mixing ballet, modern, contemporary, neoclassical, jazz and tap.
“I would like to invite everyone to come to our June performance at the Kravis Center to see our incredible students perform, including Clare and other seniors starting their professional careers,” Feray said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to see our students on stage locally before they join professional ballet companies or colleges with renowned dance programs.”
Tickets for Paris Ballet’s June performance at the Kravis Center are on sale now; all tickets are $35. The show will take place at the Rinker Playhouse. For tickets and more information, call the box office at (561) 832-7469 or visit Kravis.org.
About Paris Ballet and Dance
Paris Ballet et Danse was founded in 2009 by Jean-Hugues Feray, originally from France and former principal dancer of many international companies, including Ballet Florida and Ballet National de Marseille. Located in Jupiter, Florida, the school offers world-class dance education for students ages three and up. With an excellent reputation for quality, exceptional masterclasses and top-notch training in ballet, jazz, tap and modern, the school attracts 100 students a year from as far away as Vero Beach, Lake Worth Beach and Wellington. The school is also home to the prestigious non-profit Paris Ballet Conservatory, an elite accelerated training program for students preparing for professional dance careers. To learn more about Paris Ballet and Dance and its Conservatory, call (561) 308-8377 or visit www.parisballetdance.com.
Pictured: Clare Keavy of the Paris Ballet
Photo credit: Janine Harris