Local boy, 12, dancing into ASFA

Published 4:17 pm Monday, July 9, 2012

Will Findley, left, gets dancing instruction from Stevan Grebel of the Stevan Grebel Center for Dance in Pelham. (Reporter photo/Kreable Young)

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

PELHAM — Will Findley’s path to the dance program at the Alabama School of Fine Arts started with a passing interest in theater.

Last summer, the then-11-year-old Findley attended a theater camp, where the director told him he had talent, but he could get more roles if he had singing and dancing experience.

Once Findley tried dancing, he found he didn’t want to stop.

“Once he started dancing, he didn’t want to focus on theater or anything else,” said Will Findley’s mother, Catherine Findley. “He just wanted to dance.”

Will Findley now works with Stevan Grebel of the Stevan Grebel Center for Dance in Pelham. Stevan Grebel, a world-renowned ballet dancer, trained under famous teacher Alexander Pushkin of Russia.

Will Findley said he uses Stevan Grebel as motivation when making future goals.

“He’s had a whole career and a life in dance,” Will Findley said.

Ballet training will help Will no matter where he chooses to take his dance training, said Catherine Findley.

“Ballet is the foundation of all dance, so if you want to dance, you really need to learn ballet,” Catherine Findley said.

Will Findley, who attended Oak Mountain Middle School last year, will attend the Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham this fall. He will be one of four boys in the dance program in grades 7-12.

He said he looks forward to attending a school that will allow him to focus on dance along with his studies.

“Every day, I can focus on my main thing — I can dance. It’ll be part of my day,” Will Findley said.

Stevan Grebel’s wife, Debbie Grebel, who directs the Stevan Grebel Center for Dance along with her husband, said she believes ASFA will be a good environment for Will.

Stevan Grebel was the first ballet teacher at ASFA in the early 1970s, she said.

“I think Will’s really going to enjoy the artistic side of ASFA,” Debbie Grebel said.

Will Findley said after he completes high school, he hopes to join a ballet company or attend college to study dance.