Dancing is middle-schooler’s dream

By Lisa Boykin Batts
The Wilson Daily Times

   Endya Joyner loves to dance. The 11-year-old dances in the studios at Hunter’s Dance; she dances on the competition stage; she dances at home in the family’s apartment.
“I always feel like my feet need to be dancing,” she said. “I love the feel of it. I just love the rush.”
For Endya, (pronounced India) dance is more than just an after-school hobby. It’s a talent she wants to turn into a career.
She can take a major step toward that goal this summer. Endya has been accepted in the American Ballet Theatre’s four-week summer program.
The prestigious ballet company offers summer intensive programs in New York, Alabama, Texas, California and in North Carolina at the UNC School of the Arts. After an audition, she was accepted to the Winston-Salem program.
   That’s the good news. The bad news is the cost associated with it.
Endya’s mother, Sonceray Pate, has turned to www.gofundme.com to help pay for tuition and other related expenses, such as pointe shoes that cost around $120 a week. She will probably go through a pair each week, Pate has been told. She’s already raised over $2,400 toward her $5,000 goal. The family is thrilled and grateful for the response.
It takes a lot of money to attend dance class and be part of competitions. Pate, who works at the Department of Social Services, and her husband, Lancer Joyner, a barber, find a way to make it work. But it will take more to help Endya reach her goals.
Pate said it was important to her to get Endya into a summer program to help her toward her goal of attending the School of the Arts in high school.
“I know she has the passion to do it,” Pate said. “In order for her to have a fighting chance to get into the School of the Arts, she needs more than what she can get in Wilson.
“I think this is just her best chance to get that extra push.”
In her 32 years teaching dance, this is the first year one of Hunter Peebles’ students has been accepted in to such a prestigious program. Peebles said American Ballet Theatre is one of the top two dance companies in the country, and it’s a big deal that Endya was selected at such a young age.
Peebles said the families at Hunter’s are behind Endya.
“The people at the studio love her,” Peebles said. They are cheering her on, want to be part of her success and have contributed to the summer program fund.
“It’s like she is their child, too,” she said. “She’s our child; she’s everybody’s child at the studio.”
Peebles said she knew from the first year Endya took dance at age 5 that their was something special about the child’s talent.
Pate said she’s going to find a way to get Endya to the American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive.
“She’s going some how, some way, even if I have to take out a loan.”
If you’d like to help Endya Joyner’s efforts, visit www.gofundme.com/lt7d6s or call Hunter’s Dance at (252) 237-3578.

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