SEQUIM — Joie Darminio is chasing her dreams of becoming a professional modern contemporary dancer one step at a time.
While she’s only 17, Darminio was accepted into Joffrey’s Ballet School in New York and will have enough credits to complete high school this summer and start a four-year trainee program at the school in the fall.
She recently auditioned for the school in Seattle for jazz/contemporary dance, but initially was auditioning for the school’s two-week summer intensive program when she got the unexpected email that notified her she also was accepted into the school’s four-year trainee program.
“It was a surreal moment,” Darminio said.
Darminio thought the acceptance notification into the trainee program was a mistake but she said the email to correct that mistake never came.
She will head to New York for the summer intensive program at the end of the month, return to Sequim in August and will head back to New York in September to start her trainee program.
“I’ve always had the dream to dance in New York since I was 4 years old,” Darminio said.
“If anyone could do it, I know I could do it,” she said. “Hard work does pay off.”
On top of her summer intensive program, Darminio will need to complete her Peninsula College courses so she is able to fully focus on her dance. At Sequim High School, she is enrolled in the Running Start program that allows her to complete her school credits while dancing.
Darminio said she loves how dancing makes her feel and also enjoys choreography.
“It makes me feel like I can do anything,” she said. “I love how you can express yourself.”
Darminio said she has been dancing since she was a young girl and has been dancing at Aspire Academy of Expressive Arts in Port Angeles for a little more than four years. She also has been teaching at Aspire for two years.
She said while she’s the only dancer from her studio to have auditioned for the school this year, Aspire’s ballet director, Patty Anderson, also auditioned and made it into the trainee program at the same age as Darminio. She will miss her Aspire family and acknowledges the dance studio as an instrumental place for her dance career.
“If it wasn’t for [Aspire] I wouldn’t be where I am now,” she said.
Her program in New York is similar to that of a full-time job: she will attend dance classes from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
She looks forward to her new experiences in New York and hopes to make friends. Darminio also said she will have the opportunity to work with a few dancing stars, such as judge and contemporary choreographer Mia Michaels from the television show “So You Think You Can Dance.”
Darminio said most of the dancers from Joffrey’s are able to find professional dance jobs and her hopes are to one day work for a traveling modern contemporary dance company.