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Fulfilling big dreams with dance in Schuylkill County

Some students from Schuylkill County are heading to prestigious dance schools in places like New York, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia.

SCHUYLKILL COUNTY, Pa. — Four girls from different parts of Schuylkill County are dancing their way to big cities, hoping to fulfill big dreams.

Eliza Kline, a sophomore from Schuylkill Haven, and Mateah Bylone, an eighth-grader from Orwigsburg, will head to New York City for a few weeks this summer.

"We only realized we were going to the same audition like the day before," Eliza said. "She said she was going to an audition, and I said, 'Me too!'"

Both were drawn to the Joffrey Ballet School, which has produced many successful alumni.

"People that we follow on Instagram or whatever, and we look in their bios, and it says they studied at Joffrey," Eliza, who was offered a partial scholarship, said.

"If they went to train there and how good they are, then I guess they could make me like that as well," Mateah said.

"The fact that these intensives they're getting into are so elite. They're only taking a certain number of kids," said Erin Umphrey.

Erin and Andrew Umphrey own Artists in Motion Performing Arts in Schuylkill Haven, where the girls dance.

"We are so proud to have students accepted into these really great programs. It's a little bit of validation of what we're offering," Andrew Umphrey said.

From tap to ballet to musical theater and more, the students learn it all at the school, but many have an area of focus.

"My favorite type of dance would definitely be either tap or jazz," said Riley McDonald, a junior from Orwigsburg. Riley was accepted to Carnegie Mellon University's pre-college drama program in Pittsburgh, where she will work on musical theater and dancing this summer. 

Rylee Conley, a freshman from Frackville, was accepted into Joffrey’s pre-professional ballet program and was offered a partial scholarship into the Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia. She plans to go to Philadelphia to focus on ballet.

"I couldn't help but fall in love with it," she said. It's just something about it just keeps you literally on your toes."

The owners of Artists in Motion encourage all their dancers to follow their dreams. And each of the four dancers say they hope to perform professionally one day.

"Just the fact that I'm able to even dance here and try to make it is awesome," Mateah said.

Don’t miss our amazing dancers, Eliza, Mateah, Riley, & Rylee on WNEP Newswatch 16 at 5pm with Rose Itzcovitz!

Posted by Artists in Motion Performing Arts on Thursday, May 5, 2022

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