Six students of the Colorado Ballet Society were inducted into the National Honor Society for Dance Arts recently. SarahRose Lorrig (16) is a homeschool student; Josie Hawkins (15) is a sophomore at The Village (AOHS); Emma Michaux (17) is a junior at Colorado Springs Christian School; Gracie Mientka (17) is a homeschool student; Claire Baker (15) is a homeschool student; and Pine Creek HS senior Avery Ruff (17) were all inducted into the NHSDA in a ceremony at the Colorado Ballet Society studios and Ruff was appointed to the role of president of the Colorado Ballet Society chapter. Other students also joined the new local chapter as candidates hoping to be inducted in the Spring of 2018 once they have fulfilled stringent academic and dance requirements to become members.
“We are happy to be part of the over 800 National Honor Society for Dance Arts chapters across the nation,” shares Ballet Society and Youth Ballet founder and director, Patricia Hoffman. “Over the years I have witnessed so many benefits of dance in the lives of young people. Dance students do tend to be top performers academically, but there are many other aspects of life which are also enhanced through dance training too. Social poise, overall health, receiving direction, team cooperation, focused attention to details, performance, and community service are all areas of life which we see students grow in through our programs. The NHSDA recognizes each dance student accomplishment in all these areas and members also have access to continuing dance education scholarships and honors awards.”
Seventeen-year-old Pine Creek HS senior, Avery Rae Ruff, is the inaugural president of the new chapter. She is also a National Honor Society Member, National French Honor Society Member, National Society of High School Scholars Member, a Creek Connector at Pine Creek High School (Freshman mentor), is president of her Church Young Women Youth Group Class and has received Academic Letters over the past three years.
“I am excited to be the first President of Ballet Society’s NHSDA chapter,” says Ruff. “National Honor Societies recognize students’ accomplishments in academics and the NHSDA includes accomplishments in dance as well. Dance and education are closely related and are very complimentary and I have found that through balancing school and my hours in the studio, I have learned many life skills. Good time management, being resilient and determined, being goal oriented, and working to overcome through great effort are some of the valuable lessons dance has taught me. As a younger dancer, I watched older dancers in awe as they performed and practiced with grace and power. Then I would see them studying with laptops in hand and textbooks by their feet in between dance classes and rehearsals. Now, I feel a responsibility to younger dancers to set both an academic and professional standard and to be a mentor to them as they reach for their potential. I feel that serving with the NHSDA is one way I can be a good role model too.”
Ruff has been dancing since she was three years old. She has been a student at Ballet Society for the past nine years and has been a member of the Colorado Youth Ballet for five years and has been featured in many production roles including: Sugar Plum Fairy in the Petite Nutcracker at the Pikes Peak Library District 21c branch, a Shepherdess in A Colorado Nutcracker at the Pikes Peak Center, and a step-sister in Cinderella.
“Our chapter of NHSDA will find ways to give back to the community. I am looking forward to putting into place the beginning of new traditions,” shares Ruff. “We plan to bring dance opportunities to young children who might not otherwise have the chance to experience dance arts and to educate young children about the many opportunities and benefits of participating in dance.”
Ruff has been accepted to several Universities but is still waiting to hear back from a few more schools this spring before making her final college plans.
“I am really looking forward to my final semester as a high school senior,” declares Ruff. “And I am working hard to complete my high school education strong while making great memories. I plan to continue my dance education through college and would love to teach dance to young children someday.”
Figure 1 L-R SarahRose Lorrig, Josie Hawkins, Emma Michaux, Gracie Mientka, Claire Baker, Avery Ruff PC Kayla Coburn
Figure 2 Colorado Ballet Society founder and director Patricia Hoffman with some of the NHSDA inductees in the Background. PC: Katherine Marie Photography
Figure 3 Avery Ruff, Colorado Ballet Society National Honor Society for Dance Arts President. PC Ted Mehl of A Better Image Photography
Figure 4 L-R SarahRose Lorrig, Josie Hawkins, Emma Michaux, Gracie Mientka, Claire Baker, Avery Ruff PC Kayla Coburn