Local dancer’s journey to Alvin Ailey

Posted on 04 January 2016 by JLusk

PaigeWerman photobyNir Arieli

Ever since she was 2 years old, Paige Werman has been a dancer. Little did she know as a child that dance would set her on a career track that would include a coveted spot at The Ailey School in New York City.

Her early journey into the dance world included dancing at several studios and eventually ending up at Performance Edge 2 Dance Studio in Parkland (They also have a studio in Boca).

When asked if anyone in her family is in the creative arts, she said, “My dad is a shoe designer. I guess that is where I get my creative genes from. My brother plays an instrument and my grandma writes poetry and draws.”

“At age 8, I started completing regionally, eventually nationally. My passion for dance was growing,” said Werman, who said she likes all dance styles but feels most comfortable with Contemporary and Hip-Hop.

“When I was looking into college, I knew I wanted to be a dancer as a career,” said the 21-year-old who grew up in Lighthouse Point.

After attending school at North Broward Preparatory, she ended up going to Pine Crest in High School and taking classes through their ballet program. It wasn’t until her Freshman year that her dance technique really took on a new level as she started attending Performance Edge 2 Dance Studio.

“Being there, I was able to perform almost three times per month because there was so much competition. It offered me the chance to be in so many numbers. I don’t think a lot of people who go to these classical training programs have an opportunity to do so much,” she said.

In addition, she had the opportunity to go to New York in 2011 with her mother and do a summer intensive in Contemporary Ballet.

“I fell in love with the lifestyle and decided I wanted to be in New York. I applied to Rutgers, New York University, Alvin Ailey and the University of Florida. I got into them all. But Ailey was the best,” she said.

Werman ended up doing a special Bachelor’s of Fine Arts joint program at Alvin Ailey and also Fordham University that allowed her to do a double degree in dance and environmental policy.


Photo by Kyle Froman

“The dancers are accommodated to because there are so many students who dance,” she explained, adding that dancers take different classes depending on their level. While Freshmen take specialty classes like Improv and West African dance, Sophomores take Jazz and start with Composition, which continues into their Junior year. Seniors work on Limón technique, a modern technique created by José Limón, and also have the opportunity to do choreography and cast for their performance. In addition to doing specialized classes and her standard technique classes, she also has classes on working with a partner in several styles. Overall, dance really takes over her life and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

She aspires to be a part of the main professional company, which performs at Lincoln Center. So far, she has been asked to audition twice for the second company, Ailey II. While she would love a career at Alvin Ailey, she also would love to work abroad in Israel at the Batsheva Dance Company, something she heard about through a friend who attended a program called Dance Journey through the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company.

About Alvin Ailey

The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater began originally in 1958 in New York City and has been an instrumental step in the lives of many dancers, including Madonna Louise Ciccone (who would later become a singer named Madonna). The Alvin Ailey company has captivated audiences in more than 70 countries around the world. In fact, they will be in Miami Feb. 18-21 at the Adrienne Arsht Center. For more information, visit www.alvinailey.org.



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