Windsor teen Cheyenne Freeman to study at Joffrey School of Ballet
Published 11:20 am Saturday, April 13, 2013
BY STEPHEN H. COWLES/CONTRIBUTING WRITE
Windsor-Cheyenne Freeman of Windsor will spend a unique Mother’s Day weekend with her mom, Jessica Honeycutt. That is when they’ll be in New York City as Cheyenne studies with students at the invitation of the Joffrey School of Ballet.
Practically any day now, Freeman and her family will learn if a scholarship has come through that will enable her to study there for a year. Regardless, the 14-year-old is definitely spending August attending the school’s Contemporary/Jazz Summer Intensive and Pre-Professional and Professional Ballet Intensive sessions.
“I’m so excited about being in New York,” said Freeman, who is an eighth-grade honor roll student at Isle of Wight Academy.
The daughter of Jessica and Chuck Honeycutt of Windsor, and John and Tammi Freeman of Portsmouth, she began dancing at age two. That’s when Jessica had enrolled her in creative movement classes as a way to meet people. Freeman’s interest grew and she went for five years to the Windsor School of Dance.
“I’ve studied ballet and jazz, pointe, tap, modern, hip-hop and more lyrical ballet,” she said, adding that last kind isn’t as strict as ballet because it allows for more movement and expression.
Since 2006, she’s been a student of Renee Perry Mitchell at the RPM Dance Studio in Carrollton. Mitchell is its artistic director as well as a former Radio City Rockette.
“My teacher recommended I do an audition just to have the experience of auditioning,” said Freeman about her entry into the Joffrey programs. She was one of 30 people at the try-out in Charlotte, N.C.
“It was pretty awesome,” she said about that experience. The requests for her to attend the summer and yearlong courses soon followed.
“We’re hoping for the scholarship,” said Jessica Honeycutt, who’s confident about her daughter’s chances.
She added how excited she is about it all. Chuck, who works nights at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, said there have been many times he’s taken her to classes.
“I’ve enjoyed it more than I ever thought I would,” he said. He’ll even watch dance programs with Cheyenne.
“It’s amazing to be talking about her becoming a professional dancer at 14,” said Chuck, who admitted he’s still trying to wrap his head around it all.
“We’re just a middle-class family,” he added.
“My part of the equation as I train them is to recognize who’s going to potentially take that step in the future,” Perry said. “I put opportunities in front of them when I see something like that.”
Having herself been in dance and the entertainment industry, she encourages those students such as Freeman to go for auditions and related programs, calling them essential to developing their talent beyond “a small corner of the earth.”
Last summer, Cheyenne went to a summer intensive training program at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C.
In addition to Cheyenne having a natural ability, said Perry, “she has a lot of drive, focus in class and is extremely assertive. It’s not an easy thing to do to walk in a room of people, some who are better than you are.”
“Doors have started to open for her. It’s very exciting. She has a tremendous amount of potential,” said Perry. “I’m proud of her — so proud of her.”