Participating in the development of an artist is an incredibly fulfilling experience and one of my favorite aspects of my job at Ballet Austin is the work that I do with the dancers in Ballet Austin II (our second company/apprentice program) and our trainees (the most advanced level of our Academy). These 24 dancers, ranging in age from 17-24, are recruited from across the country as part of our annual multi-city audition tour. Selected from a field of more than 300 candidates, they relocate to Austin, looking to Ballet Austin as an opportunity to hone their technical and artistic abilities, and make the transition from student to professional dancer.
Photo: Tony Spielberg
Each year we present the apprentices and trainees in their own performance, That Spring Thing, giving them the opportunity to learn and perform work from the company’s repertoire as well as have new ballets created on them. This ‘graduation’ performance serves as the culmination of the year’s work and allows me, as their director, to begin to discover the uniquely personal artistic “voice” that each dancer will eventually bring to their dancing. This year in particular, the dancers have had the chance to work with some exceptional choreographers including Stephen Mills and former New American Talent/Dance finalist Thang Dao, as well as Ballet Nouveau Choreographic Competition winner Jennifer Hart and Ballet Austin II alumnus Nick Kepley.
More than half of our main company dancers have passed through the trainee and apprentice programs. It is a rich and inspiring moment when dancers who have begun to discover the seeds of their own artistry under your care, hit their stride and begin to expand the boundaries of their potential on their own. Many things start with That Spring Thing – and the future possibilities are often quite limitless. Who could ask for a better job…
Click here for more information on That Spring Thing.