Jupiter dancer wins prestigious training spot

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Jupiter’s Devon Luxton has secured a sought-after training program place at one of the largest professional ballet schools in the world: the Dutch National Ballet Academy in the Netherlands. PHOTO BY JONATHAN GIVENS EPS ENTERTAINMENT PHOTOGRAPHY SPECIALISTS

This is a true story of Billy Elliot.

Similar to the young hero of the blockbuster and Broadway movie, a talented American teenager who started ballet lessons just five years ago has landed a sought-after training program spot at one of the largest professional ballet schools in the world. world: the Dutch National Ballet Academy in The Netherlands.

Jupiter resident Devon Luxton, 17, was selected through a video audition process as one of 177 dancers from around the world invited to audition at the Grande Audition in Barcelona on February 8-9, a premier audition opportunity for dancers (ages 17-26) to be seen by directors of several international ballet companies. After the first day, the dancers were reduced to 49 (of which Mr. Luxton was the only American male dancer), and only 10 of those dancers were offered positions by the business leaders. Mr Luxton was one of them – accepting a coveted placement that most young dancers can only dream of.

“It was an incredible experience,” Mr. Luxton said in a statement. “I have known for some time that the Dutch National Ballet was where I wanted to be. I look forward to continuing to train in their pre-professional division starting this fall.

Only 12 male dancers and 12 female dancers from around the world win places each year for the famous two-year training program of the 61-year-old Dutch National Ballet Academy. An opportunity that will also earn Mr. Luxton an associate’s degree in classical ballet, the intensive program serves as the training ground for the legendary Dutch National Ballet Company, the largest and most official ballet company in the Netherlands. The program gives talented young dancers the opportunity to prepare for a career with the Dutch National Ballet or another leading international ballet company. Its dancers also perform regularly in popular professional productions of the Dutch National Ballet.

“We are delighted that Devon Luxton is joining the Associate Degree Graduate School of the Dutch National Academy of Ballet,” Ernst Meisner, choreographer and artistic director, said in the statement. “He performed wonderfully well at Barcelona and I look forward to working with him at our Academy this fall.”

Mr. Luxton’s journey began just five years ago when he saw a regional production of ‘Billy Elliot: The Musical’, the hit musical about a boy who discovers ballet and the teacher who cultivates his natural talent. Inspired by the show and subsequent exposure to other dance musicals, Mr Luxton, then 11, told his parents he would like to try ballet. His mother enrolled him in her first class on his 12th birthday at Paris Ballet et Danse, the Jupiter school founded in 2009 by former international ballet star Jean-Hugues Feray.

Originally from France, Mr. Feray has been a principal dancer with many international companies, including Ballet Florida and the Ballet National de Marseille. Along with his school and conservatory, he and his staff focus on teaching ballet in its purest and most original French form, in addition to other dance forms. He knew immediately that Mr. Luxton had a natural talent that could be cultivated, Mr. Feray said.

Within 18 months of beginning training, Mr. Luxton traveled to Kansas City, Missouri, to compete in the regional Youth America Grand Prix dance competition, often referred to as the “Ballet Olympics.” Against students who had been training for many years, Mr. Luxton won first place and then danced in the New York final. In the years that followed, he was selected for the final each year and was offered numerous scholarships and opportunities. He took intensive summer courses at such renowned institutions as the Paris Opera Ballet (where Mr. Feray received his training), the Joffrey Ballet and the Dutch National Ballet Academy, which reinforced his love for school and company.

And ballet isn’t Mr. Luxton’s only gift. A skilled visual artist, he is a senior digital media specialist at Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, a highly competitive magnet school that consistently ranks in the top 2% of high schools in the nation. After school and on weekends, he spent six days a week training with Mr. Feray at the Ballet de Paris.

Before moving to Amsterdam in the fall, Mr. Luxton will attend intensive summer sessions on the Fellowship at the Académie Princesse Grace des Ballets de Monte Carlo and the Royal Ballet School in London. ¦


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