Published 12:04 am Wednesday, July 22, 2015

New Andalusia Ballet instructor Foye Dubose works with Katie Day during a recent class. |                                                                     Michele Gerlach/Star-News

New Andalusia Ballet instructor Foye Dubose works with Katie Day during a recent class. |
Michele Gerlach/Star-News

Foye Dubose took his first dance class at age 14. Looking back, he thinks he knew from the first day that he had found something he loved enough to have as a career.

“I grew up as an athlete,” he said, adding that he also had been involved in drama. In ballet, he loved the marriage of athleticism and art.

“I was watching the men do all of these amazing things in the air,” he said.

The final lure was when the teacher explained he would be in a class with 20 girls.

“That’s quite a draw in and of itself for a teenager,” he said.

As a high school senior, he saw a performance by the Dance Theater of Harlem, a group created by the dancer and choreographer Arthur Mitchell.

“That was the first time I had seen anyone who looks like me perform,” he said. “Here they were on stage with my body type, my size, and my skin. I was sold.”

As a youngster, Dubose trained at the Carver Creative Performing Arts Center in Montgomery. He earned scholarships to the University of Alabama Birmingham, Hungarian National Ballet School, and a Ford Foundation Scholarship to the Pacific Northwest Ballet School under the direction of Francis Russell.

He performed with Dayton Ballet, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Ohio Ballet, Alabama Ballet, and Southern Danceworks, and said he was fortunate to have the opportunity to dance all the classical ballets.

After leaving the professional stage, he returned to Montgomery where he was the ballet master at the Alabama Dance Theatre, and most recently was artistic director of the Montgomery Ballet.

He’s been a fixture in Andalusia for quite some time, teaching part-time her for the past five or six years. When his tenure with Montgomery Ballet ended, he became a full-time instructor in Andalusia. Andalusia Ballet was appealing for several reasons, he said, including the local talent, Andalusia Ballet founder Meryane Murphy’s commitment to excellence, and the local facilities.

“This is a fabulous facility,” he said. “The best ballet facility in the state of Alabama.

“I have a lot of respect for Mrs. Murphy and for what she’s accomplished here.”

Dubose is teaching classical and modern ballet. Creatively, he’s done diverse work, including choreographing classical ballets to hip-hop music. He said he tries to help students feel the music, or the story, and to convey that story with movement.

“The kids here have been an inspiration in all ways,” he said. “

Adjusting to Andalusia has been easy, he said, “especially since I hate to drive.”

He lives across Church Street from the Andalusia Ballet in the neighboring apartments.

“It’s been very good to be able to sit outside and listen to the crickets,” he said. “It’s a calming effect.”

There was one thing to which he had to grow accustomed.

“You’re walking down street, and people wave to you,” he said. “It was unnerving at first. Then Mark (Murphy) told me, ‘Just wave back.’ ”

He does.

Mrs. Murphy said Dubose also will work with students in Andalusia’s after-school beginning in the fall.