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Mehaffey strives to reach stardom in dance

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Alice Mehaffey wants to be known the world over.

"I want to be famous by the time I'm 25 years old," she said. "I just want the world to know me."

The 19-year-old Rex woman, who aspires to be an actor-dancer in Hollywood, said she is seriously preparing for her big break. "I'm a dancer," she reiterated. "I want to be an actress. I'd really like to act and dance."

Mehaffey said she has been trying hard to gain exposure as a dancer over the past year. She has auditioned three times in that period for FOX TV's "So You Think You Can Dance," a "reality" television show now in its seventh season.

Mehaffey is classically trained in ballet, where her drive to fame began. She became interested in performing for large audiences at the age of 13, which was the first time she performed with the Stockbridge-based Atlanta Festival Ballet Company in its annual production of "The Nutcracker."

The petite dancer had been trained before in ballet, at The Dance Academy in Stockbridge, between the ages of 3 and 8. She said she was a student with the Atlanta Festival Ballet from 8 to 18 years old.

She currently teaches jazz and ballet classes to small children at The Dance Academy in Stockbridge, where she also performs with the Atlanta South Dance Company.

"That's what brought on ‘So You Think You Can Dance,'" explained Mehaffey, who hoped her talents in dance would propel her through the televised dance competition, which judges contestants on their ability to adapt to several different dance styles.

Mehaffey said she prefers contemporary dance and ballet, as styles that suit her talents most, and she auditions in the contemporary dance genre.

She began auditioning for the competition last year for the sixth season of the television series. She had her first audition in March 2009, in Atlanta. Her second audition was held in July 2009, in New Orleans.

Mehaffey traveled to Nashville, Tenn., in March, for her third audition. There, she was cut in a final round of the preliminary auditions. She said it was the farthest she has gotten in all her auditions.

"I don't think it was technique, as it was character, because she's technically amazing," said fellow dancer, Connie Arredondo. "She does classical effortlessly, and she does contemporary dance well, because of her classical training."

Arredondo is the artistic director for The Dance Academy in Stockbridge and the director of Atlanta South Dance Company. She said she majored in dance at the School of the Performing Arts in San Francisco, and has 18 years of ballet training.

"I would describe Alice as a technically creative and inspiring dancer," Arredondo said. "I think ‘So You Think You Can Dance' is definitely a great start, introducing herself to the media."

Mehaffey, like other self-described artists, said she has put her all into her craft, hoping her dancing will, one day, turn into a career in the performing arts and entertainment industry.

"I don't have a fall-back," she said. "Dance is it. School happens when I'm too old and wrinkly to dance."