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Jennifer Duncan hasn't added a story.
One of Lexie's first words was "Dance"
From the time she was old enough to walk she participated in nightly
dance parties with her twin sister and three brothers. While her older
brothers were at school Lexie would yell "Dance Mama Dance"
At age 5 her we put her into a recreational ballet class to help with
proprioceptive and balance issues she was having. We used to joke that
Lexie couldn't walk without falling, but she could dance for hours.
She fell in love with ballet right away and began taking jazz, tap and
hip hop the next year as well. After two years of recreational dance
she asked to try out for the competitive team. We were hesitant
because she was struggling but we wanted to support her desire to try.
She didn't make it that year, but hearing the word "no"
seemed to light a fire within her. The next year she began taking
classes seriously and had a great desire to improve. Her hard work
paid off and she made the team that year.
"Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard" Is a quote that reflected Lexie's early days. She has always had an intensive hunger to learn and the drive to succeed. She has had to work hard. It didn't always come easy to her but being an "underdog" motivated her.
Her love for ballet skyrocketed her first year in competitive dance.
Unfortunately that winter was the start of COVID and two years of
lockdowns so she did not have regular in person training. She asked
about online opportunities to improve her flexibility and scoured
youtube looking for and watching every ballet technique video she
could find. She began taking frequent online classes with Out-school,
Ballet Jorgen and The Vaganova Academy on top of her regular studio
zoom classes. In the summer of 2020 she did three weeks of daily
intensives between Ballet Jorgen and Joffrey Ballet School. Three
times a week she accompanied her older brother to workout outdoors. We
watched in wonder of her self motivation and drive.
The following year Lexie learned the new ballet teacher at her studio was trained in the Vaganova method so she asked me to find classes in that style ahead of the start of dance. she began taking weekly classes with the Vaganova Academy, one of the top three schools in the world, weekly. It wasn't easy at first. There was frustration and at times a few tears but not long after she began we started to hear her say "it hurt's and it's awesome" That summer she auditioned and was accepted into their 3 week online intensive and attended a one week with Ballet Jorgen as well. It was an incredible experience for her and she began the studio year greatly improved and even more eager to learn. She asked about taking additional classes as she expressed her desire to train seriously and look towards a future possibility in ballet. We signed her up for private lessons and she was permitted to take pre pointe at the studio having trained for the year previously online. To challenge her she was allowed to learn the ballet routine in the level above her as an understudy. When a student withdrew Lexie was added to the routine. That year she got to compete for the first time and she fell in love with performing. Lexie also passed her ballet exams with the highest level obtainable, distinction.
In the summer of 2022 she attend Canada's Quinte Ballet School
preprofessional summer intensive for 3 weeks after auditioning. she
was asked to join their pre pro school year round program based on her
It was during the summer program where the desire to attend a professional ballet school and go pro one day, was cemented. She had also auditioned for The Vaganova Academy's program in Spain to gain audition experience only and was accepted but we were not willing to send her that far at that time.
This year she was asked to do a solo and she began the task of learning a professional variation which is not as easy task. She did very well in her first competition and is preparing for her next. She has been working very very hard this year doing multiple extra coaching sessions a week on top of her regular ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop and musical theatre classes. She is also very diligent in stretching and conditioning and works out daily.
Lexie has she auditioned for a number of summer programs, many of which are very competitive. She has been invited to in person professional programs at Alberta Ballet School, A&A Ballet Chicago, School of Cadence Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet School and The Vaganova Academy.
Every year prospective ballet students spend the winter auditioning for summer programs. For students enrolled in professional ballet programs, intensives are important to increase learning and maintain conditioning, technique and muscle memory through the summer. For students like Lexie who are not able to access intensive ballet programs through the year, summer programs are vital for development. Without these programs children like Lexie are unable to reach the level of training their peers have access to. For those with a goal of one day dancing professionally, training must continue year round.
The unfortunate thing about the arts and ballet for children like Lexie, is the lack of accessibility. Dance, especially competitive dance, comes at a premium price. Government grants and scholarships are not available, especially in Canada for summer programming. Some full time schools do offer merit and financial need based scholarships for their year round programs and we are hoping to access those when she is ready to train full time.
Lexie is the youngest of five children and while we fully support her dream emotionally, financially it can be challenging. Most summer intensives average between 7,000-10,000 dollars for a full session with residence and food included. Lexie has a 16 year old brother with severe autism and his needs are very high and make having both parents work full time impossible which can at times be a struggle. We are 100% supportive of her goals and will always do what we can to make them happen. Lexie is a wonderful, mature sweet child who works incredibly hard and is very humble. She takes nothing for granted and asks for very little. She has a gift in relating with individuals who have exceptional needs and one day hopes to teach.
In telling Lexie's story we hope you might consider supporting her
quest to train. We are incredibly thankful you have chosen to read her
story. Lexie plans on keeping everyone updated on her plans and
progress through the summer.
She thanks everyone so much for taking the time to learn about her journey and supporting her. Whether you are able to support her emotionally or financially, we thank you so much.
Love the Duncan Family
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