|A chance to dance away the summer
Erin Murphy earns spot in prestigious dance honor
Erin Murphy plans to dance a good chunk of her summer away in San Francisco.
The 13-year-old student at Rohnert Park’s Classical and Contemporary Dance studio has been accepted into the San Francisco Ballet School summer dance program. And on June 11, she’ll begin an intense three-week course where she’ll be studying dance from 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. six days a week.
“I was super excited when I first heard I’d made it,” Murphy said. “I didn’t think I would make it. I wasn’t expecting to make it because it was my first audition for something like that.”
Tamara Grose, who runs the CCD studio, said Murphy’s accomplishment is well deserved. Her prized student has shown the drive and initiative necessary to get to a higher level.
“I have an amazing group of 12-13 year olds,” Gross said. “Erin’s worked really hard. She’s taken some of the adult classes as well as her age group, and I think that’s really pushed her forward. There’s a lot of talent here. Some are strong with auditions and some aren’t.”
Murphy has been a serious dance student for three years. She began at a different studio in Rohnert Park that has since been closed. A friend informed her Grose was opening a new studio, and Murphy has been at CCD ever since.
As much as Murphy enjoyed dancing, she said she didn’t start to love it until two years ago when she got on pointe. Being on pointe is a big deal because it means a dancer has earned point shoes.
“The pointe is like a driver’s license…you have to earn it,” Grose said. “The girls have to take at least three to four technique classed a week for two or three years, and then they have to be 12 years old to be eligible to go on pointe. There’s also a certain amount conditioning and strength you have to have.”
Conditioning and strength are key elements for a dancer’s success, but dedication may be most important. And that’s something Murphy has been learning by the day. She said it’s especially difficult to continue working when she’s tired.
“You can’t understand how challenging ballet is until you really get into doing it,” Grose said. “It looks effortless, but to get there is difficult. And once you get there, you have to stay there. Erin’s experienced missing two or three days of work, and it’s like starting over again when you come back.”
Murphy is hoping the work she’s putting in now leads to her joining a professional ballet company. She will be a senior at Casa Grande in Petaluma in the fall, and she plans to take as many artistic-type classes as possible.
She is the youngest of four children; she has two brothers who are 20 and 16 and a 19-year-old sister. All of her siblings are interested in sports. Murphy played on a traveling soccer team last year, but gave it up to devote her energy to dancing.
“It was too hard to do both, and soccer didn’t work out,” Murphy said.
Being on a traveling soccer team and a dancer also can be heavy on the wallet. Studio time isn’t cheap, and neither is traveling with a soccer team, especially with today’s gas prices.
“Pointe shoes are 80-90 bucks a pop,” Grose said. “Erin just ordered two more pairs. She’s gone through another pair in a month. Then there’s tuition.”
Grose said the price of tuition goes down at CCD the more sessions a student takes. Grose also said Murphy serves as an inspiration to her other students.
“Erin getting accepted into the San Francisco Ballet summer program is wonderful because the other girls…they see the hard work plays off. And in our culture, it’s so important to have a passion for something and stick with it. Dance is so demanding.”
Said Murphy, “I love performing and seeing improvement. In class, everything’s easier and it’s fun. When I learn and apply it, I get satisfaction.”