Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Training for the Big Time A Young Jacksonville Ballerina Takes Her Passion to the Next Level

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Training for the Big Time A Young Jacksonville Ballerina Takes Her Passion to the Next Level

Article excerpt

Anna Meshaw knows countless young dancers fill ballet studios

all over the country.

She knows the odds are against anyone who wants to make it as a

professional dancer.

Yet she is undaunted.

Meshaw, 15, recently left home in Jacksonville to train for the

prestigious USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson,

Miss., in June. Placing in this competition could mean a

foothold in the professional world.

There is a price for such ambition.

"I'm leaving my friends and family. I won't have Dulce

[Anaya]," she said, sitting in the studio of Jacksonville Ballet

Theatre, where Anaya is artistic director. "It is a price you

have to pay."

Trained by Anaya, Meshaw is a standout dancer who has performed

solos during Jacksonville productions, including The Nutcracker.

In a recent performance of Swan Lake, she danced with Davis

Robertson, guest star from the Joffrey Ballet and a dancer with

Jacksonville roots.

She is a natural, a lithe figure of 112 pounds with long legs

and wavy blond hair.

Between her work at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts and at

Anaya's studio, Meshaw has trained five hours per day. It is not

uncommon for her to spend weekends at rehearsals.

While attending a dance workshop last summer, Meshaw was

singled out by former Bolshoi Ballet star Dmitri Roudnev. He

encouraged her to train for the competition.

Roudnev has since become her coach. She is studying with him at

schools where he is teaching, first in Memphis, Tenn., and next

year in Chicago.

During her training in Memphis, she will have private tutors

for her schoolwork. In January, when Roudnev teaches at a

Chicago dance studio, Meshaw will train there and attend a

public school.

Anaya has been impressed by Meshaw's dedication.

"She wants it [to dance]," Anaya said. "This [competition] has

given her incentive to work harder."

Her mother, Gail Meshaw, said she and Anna's father, Harry

Meshaw, had to think carefully about the decision to allow their

daughter to leave home. …

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