Student Opportunities

Published in the August/September 2009 issue.

Ballet Classes At The Kennedy Center


In its 13th year, the Ballet Class Series at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts allows serious ballet students to take master classes and attend select rehearsals with the companies performing there.  


“It’s such a neat opportunity to learn from the companies that come through the Kennedy Center and see how they work,” says Natalie Varnum, who, after two years in the program, is now a member of Houston Ballet II. “It gave me an idea of what each company is like, and after class I could ask the artistic directors questions, which was especially useful when I started auditioning.” 


This year’s roster includes American Ballet Theatre, Bolshoi Ballet, New York City Ballet and Pennsylvania Ballet. Also, for the first time, the program involves visiting modern dance companies, like Nacho Duato’s Compañía Nacional de Danza, an experience that is sure to enhance a ballet dancer’s range.    


Near the conclusion of the series, students are invited to a class/discussion with legendary ballerina Suzanne Farrell, whose company is produced by the Kennedy Center.   

 
Applications are due by September 18, and the audition is October 10.  For more information, visit www.kennedy-center.org/education/students/ballet/
 —Elizabeth Gorgas

Genée International Ballet Competition


For dancers studying the Royal Academy of Dance technique, attending the Genée International Ballet Competition can be the pinnacle of their training. Started in 1931, the competition is RAD’s flagship event, offering top students the opportunity to work with world-renowned teachers and choreographers for five days before competing in front of a panel of distinguished judges. Past winners include The Royal Ballet’s Leanne Benjamin and American Ballet Theatre’s Stella Abrera.


“I loved how the coaching helped us polish our variations, giving us tips like where to look and how to finish,” says Pacific Northwest Ballet student Nicole Ciapponi, who received a silver medal at last year’s competition, as well as the Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan Award for Theatricality. “It became not about winning, but about performing. And it gave me more confidence to go on to a professional career and dance alongside company dancers.”


The 2009 Genée International Ballet Competition will take place in Singapore from September 3–12. The competition is open to student dancers ages 15 to 19 who have passed RAD’s Advanced 2 Examination in classical ballet with distinction or have been awarded the Solo Seal. The application deadline is August 3. Find out more at www.geneeballetcompetition.com. —Jennifer Stahl

Win A Scholarship From American Harlequin


Luck is all you need to be the winner of the American Harlequin Corporation’s $5,000 scholarship! “Because of the economic situation, this year we decided to make it 100 percent random instead of teacher-nominated, as we have done in the past,” says Claire Londress, marketing manager for Harlequin.


Any American or Canadian student dancer, age 15 to 21, is eligible. Twenty scholarships will be awarded, starting at $500 with a grand prize of $5,000.

Amanda Nazario, 17, won the $5,000 prize last year. The Long Island resident, who dances tap, ballet and lyrical, plans to use the money to help pay tuition this September at the University of Rhode Island. “Paying for college will be really hard on my family and me,” she says. “The scholarship is a huge, huge help.”


Interested students can apply online at www.harlequinfloors.com or call 800-642-6440 for an application. The deadline to apply is November 1.
—Amanda Silliker

TIP:How can you get the most out of each technique class?

Class is a chance to improve any weakness. Think about what steps gave you trouble yesterday, what corrections you got, and start figuring out what you need to do to improve.
What gives your movement value is how involved you are in it, not what your teacher thinks of you. Have your own agenda: You’re not just a student in class; you’re creating the artist within you. You have to enter the studio thinking “Here’s my opportunity, I can make things better.”
 —Finis Jhung, master teacher