HOT SPRINGS, Ark.- A local ballet dancer was one of 3,000 students who attended the summer program at The School of American Ballet in New York City and he’s just learned he’s one of only 15 being asked to come back for further study.
Ethan Huffman, 15, of Hot Springs spent this past summer training in New York and was invited back to the world-renowned ballet school.
“I’m excited because I get to do what I enjoy,” says Huffman.
Huffman began dancing at 7-years -old. Everything from tap, ballet, hip-hop, and jazz but it was ballet that really captivated him, his mother says.
“He just pointed and said I want to do that,” says Ethan’s mom, Danielle Huffman. “When he was around 11, we felt he needed more advanced training so we started driving him to classes at Rock City Dance Center in Little Rock 4 to 5 days a week.”
Only 15 students were chosen to return and train at the ballet school in New York City, an honor Ethan says he’s worked his entire life for.
“It’s definitely a big deal,” says Huffman. “From Arkansas, in the last 40 years I am the first one to have gotten in – in the last 40 years and that’s a big deal.”
However, all his hard work and dreams soon came to a sudden halt.
“He knew that being a ballet dancer was what he wanted to do as a career,” says his mom.
Just three days after returning from the summer program, he was taking a basic ballet class and landed just slightly off-balance.
“I broke my tibia, almost last year to the day,” says Huffman.
He had emergency surgery and had two screws placed in his leg.
“I was determined,” he says.
He kept training silently and against doctors orders and in no time was better.
“I just want to show people that you should not care what people think,” says Huffman. “You should do what you love and go for it because in the end you are the one that’s going to be successful and turning heads and that’s what’s important.”
Huffman says he trains for more than 6 hours a day.
“You have to be passionate about it and push yourself,” he explains.
His mother says they are very proud of their son and hope he makes Arkansas proud.
“This is a huge honor, especially for a boy from a small-town in Arkansas,” she says. “
The school was established in the New York City in 1934 by George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein. It is considered on the most prestigsous ballet and dance schools in the country.
The School of American Ballet is where The New York City Ballet selects its professional dancers. That is Huffman’s dream, to dance with The New York City Ballet as a professional ballet dancer, and this move puts him one step closer to making his dreams a reality.