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Photo gallery: Area ballet students sharpen, maintain skills
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Under the direction of Statesboro Youth Ballet director Jurijs Safonovs, dance students completed two weeks of rigorous study at the Averitt Center for the Arts Summer Ballet Intensive Friday.

Besides ballet, lessons in pointe technique, character dance, jazz, modern, and dance composition were also learned and practiced. The program concluded with an hour-long showcase open to the public at the Emma Kelly Theater.

Safonovs, a Latvian native who is trained in the Vaganova classical ballet technique of Russia, believes it is important for dancers to maintain their technical proficiency and stay in shape, even over summer break, and the intensive gives some students a chance to perfect what they have already learned while giving others a chance to learn some new skills.

Students were a mix of current Youth Ballet students and newcomers. Safonovs is excited about the region-wide interest, with students attending from Claxton, Pembroke, and Atlanta. The Youth Ballet and the Averitt Center are currently exploring the possibility of expanding their dance facilities into Claxton and beyond to better facilitate participation.

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