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Dance student heading to NYC
Abigail Harris accepted at prestigious academy
Abigail Harris for Web
Statesboro High graduate Abigail Harris was recently accepted at the prestigious American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. - photo by Special
    When Abigail Harris began high school, she was a quiet girl secretly dreaming of Broadway.  Today, Harris now knows she'll see the bright lights of the big city every day. She was accepted recently to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Manhattan, where she plans to study musical theater.
    The New York City academy was founded in 1964 by Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor as a premiere performing arts conservatory. The school selects 1,000 students a year through an audition process. Students from across the globe compete for the few slots available.
    Academy graduates frequently appear on Broadway in shows such as “A Chorus Line,” “Hairspray,” “Jersey Boys” and “Shrek: The Musical.” Many also go on to movie and TV acting careers.
    Harris pursued her passion by studying dance, theater and voice by pursuing local avenues. Her participation in Averitt Center productions, workshops and the Statesboro Youth Ballet helped her prepare for the next step, pre-professional training at a top conservatory, she said.
    At age 12, Harris began taking ballet, tap and jazz under the direction of Shay Morgan at Statesboro School of Dance.
    “Abigail is a dedicated student who works harder than almost anyone else in class,” Morgan said. “Even if we're rehearsing something for the tenth time, Abigail still has a smile on her face. Her hard work paid off this year, as she was the lead in our spring recital, 'Angelina Ballerina.'”
    Harris takes ballet class four days a week, plus attends extra rehearsals and helps with the younger students at the School of Dance. The recital marked her sixth as a ballet student. She also participates in the school's volunteer program at the Boys & Girls Club of Bulloch County and in various praise performances.
Harris also has trained with Atlanta Ballet during their two week summer intensives held at     Georgia Southern and attended a four week summer intensive with the Fort Wayne Ballet under the direction of Jeremy Blanton and Karen Gibbons-Brown.
    Harris has performed with the Averitt Center's Statesboro Youth Ballet for five seasons of “The Nutcracker” and the four other ballets the group has presented. She also participated in last season's presentation of “Dracula,” “Ballet with a Bite,” with Columbia City Ballet under the direction of William Starrett.
    Harris' passion for the theater has become a family affair. Her younger sister, Victoriana, also dances and participates in Statesboro High and Averitt Center theater programs. Both girls are SHS Honors Students.
    Their mother, Anita Hall, an accomplished seamstress and a single parent, has helped finance dance lessons with making costumes for various ballet and theater performances.
    “Without the performance opportunities that the Averitt Center has provided, Abigail would never have found the courage, nor had the experience to audition for AMDA,” Hall said. “AMDA is highly competitive, yet Abigail was confident, prepared and even received a scholarship based on the quality of her audition.
    “That says a lot for the Averitt Center, for Statesboro School of Dance and the Statesboro High School performing arts programs.”
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