PLATTSBURGH - Although she has been dancing since the age of 3, when Korinne Stay learned she was accepted into a prestigious dancing program, she was truly surprised.
Stay, a senior at Beekmantown High School, applied to Alvin Ailey's American Dance Center in New York City for a six-week summer intensive, with influence from one of her dance teachers, Alice Schonbek - who danced with the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble.
"[Schonbek] suggested that I should just go try out and see what happens," explained Stay who auditioned in December. "And, it worked!"
Stay's mother, Deborah Guibord-Stay, director of Guibord's North Country School of Ballet, explained Alvin Ailey's school is one of the "main modern dance companies in the United States."
"The school is ... run like a tight ship," she said. "it's just very, very well-managed. They offer all the components that are going to make a dancer strong. Their reputation is now so built, that it is a big deal to get into something like this."
Stay was one of more than 2,000 students to audition for the program, with only 150 selected.
She began by performing a ballet piece, followed by a modern piece, where the number of dancers was cut in half.
"They put you into two groups and excused one group," recalled Guibord-Stay. "They're right out there. You're right on the line."
Finally, Stay came out from her audition holding a piece of paper which showed she was accepted into the program.
"That was one of the most delightful moments ever," said Guibord-Stay.
Stay returned to NYC June 20 to begin her six-week session. While there she danced daily, learning ballet, modern, African and Jazz techniques. She also performed in four sold-out performances.
"[The African dance] was completely new," said Stay. "I loved it. It was very athletic. It was something I could do because I'm into that kind of stuff and I really let loose."