Traveling around the country auditioning students for our Summer Intensive certainly has its challenges – mostly having to do with weather conditions, dealing with airlines, often having to wake up at 2am or 3am to catch flights… but I digress; Director of Schools Bill Piner and I love to talk of the many adventures we’ve had!
One of the great pleasures of going to distant cities in this capacity is the connection we make with audition studios all over the country. Solidifying existing relationships with colleagues from our various backgrounds, as well as building and developing new ones, is a rich, worthwhile experience.
Reconnecting with the owners of one of the studios we go to has been particularly satisfying for me. Ben Houk was a principal dancer and his wife, Lauri-Michelle, was a soloist at Pacific Northwest Ballet while I was on the faculty of the school. My awe of them while they were dancers has been expanded to deep admiration as I see the great success of the the studio they've built in the relatively short amount of time they’ve been in San Diego. I’ve relished time spent with them and the late night, post audition discussions of the importance of bringing an art form to children that expands the potential each child has as a person. They fully support our summer intensive since they see noticeable improvements in the students they’ve sent here.
While I’ve had the chance to see Ben and Lauri-Michelle’s studio, beautiful home, gorgeous, delightful five children, they’ve never been to Austin. Well, in a year that Ballet Austin received applications for the summer intensive from 39 states, seven countries, and five continents, two of their daughters are coming to our first session! This means that Lauri-Michelle will be coming to drop them off and that I’ll be able to show her our wonderful facility and extend some good old Texas hospitality!
Our summer intensive tour is just one of the ways that Ballet Austin stays closely connected to the dance industry, and it's such a treat when these connections foster lifelong friendships!
For more information about Ballet Austin's Summer Intensive, click here.