Minot native Alexis Schriock has been accepted to the year-round trainee program at the prestigious Joffrey Ballet School in New York City next fall. She was also offered a full scholarship to the school's summer intensive program next summer.
"I'll be taking classes Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.," said Schriock, who is currently majoring in dance at Belhaven University in Jackson, Miss., and will finish out her freshman year at the college before going to New York. Schriock graduated from Minot High School last spring and had been a student with the Rinat Mouzafarov Institute of Dance and Ballet Theater since she was 4 years old.
Only a small number of dancers who apply for the trainee program at the Joffrey School of Ballet are admitted. In an e-mail that the executive director of the school sent to Schriock's mother, Bonnie Schriock, he said Schriock has "demonstrated exceptional talent and potential that needs to be nurtured and developed to the next level."
Submitted Photo - - Minot dancer Alexis Schriock is headed to New York to take classes at Joffrey Ballet School.
"Oh, my God, this is huge for North Dakota!" said Mouzafarov, who said he is excited to see one of his students accepted to the top ballet school and is very proud of Schriock. All of his young ballet students look up to Schriock as a role model, said Mouzafarov.
He tells them that if they work really hard, they can be just like Alexis.
Schriock said she learned a great deal from Mouzafarov, who has been a mentor to her throughout her childhood and knows some of the teachers she currently has in college.
"He's taught me not only how to dance but also how to be a good person," Schriock said.
Schriock had performed in a number of productions while living in Minot, including the lead in the ballet "Anne Frank." She danced with the pre-professional workshop with the Ballet Magnificat! in Jackson, Miss., last summer as well.
Schriock said the four week intensive at the Ballet Magnificat! was a really big breakthrough for her and she learned a lot there. Ballet Magnificat! helped her to be more expressive and use her dancing to express her belief in God, she said.
During the past few years, she said, dance has become more important to her than ever before.
"Probably up until I was 16 or 17, I just kind of did it because I liked it and it was fun and I liked to perform," Schriock said. "The last couple of years I've really found my undying passion."
Schriock said the two- to three-year program at Joffrey Balley School will help prepare her to be both a performer and eventually a dance teacher herself like Mouzafarov. She'd like one day to teach all ages like Mouzafarov does. Mouzafarov said he told her she should perform and gain as much experience as possible, which will help make her a better performer and teacher one day.
Schriock said she's aware of what a great opportunity this is and is grateful for the help she has gotten along the way from her parents and from "Mr. Rinat."
"It's a really huge blessing," Schriock said.