National Award Honors Ballet Austin Choreographer
By Michelle Martin, Associate Artistic Director

Every two years, Ballet Austin presents New American Talent/Dance, a choreographic competition that identifies and nurtures talented emerging choreographers by providing them with an opportunity to choreograph work on our professional dancers. One of my favorite aspects of this project is meeting and working with the individual choreographers and it is exceptionally gratifying to watch their careers develop as a result of the exposure and support that they receive as part of this competition. Most recently, choreographer Thang Dao, one of our 2006 New American Talent/Dance finalists was awarded a Choreography Fellowship by the Princess Grace Foundation – USA.

Like New American Talent/Dance, the mission of this New York-based foundation is to support exceptional artists in the early stages of their careers, by funding partnerships with established professional arts organizations. Thang’s Choreographic Fellowship, one of only three awarded nationally in 2008, will allow him to return to Ballet Austin to create a work for our apprentice company, Ballet Austin II, to be premiered as part of their annual spring concert inApril, 2008.

As the director of Ballet Austin II, I am particularly pleased that Thang’s Fellowship will bring him back to work with our apprentices.  My experience with him in the studio has shown that exploring and developing the potential of young dancers is an important part of his own choreographic process. He works in a supportive and collaborative way that benefits both the artists and his choreography and I’m looking forward to having him back in the studio.
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