Claire Boren 15 ~ Natalie Skelton Tutu Memorial Scholarship
My name is Claire Boren and I am fifteen years old. I am a freshman at Faith Christian School. I fell in love with ballet my first day of class right before I turned three years old. This year, I am applying for a Dance Council Scholarship.
Most of my training has taken place at Ballet Academy of Texas under the teachings of Lisa Slagle. My family moved to Connecticut for two years when I was ten years old. In Connecticut, I trained at Ballet Etudes and as often as possible I took at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theater in New York City. In Connecticut, I started pointe when I was ten. I am currently back at the Ballet Academy of Texas, and I am honored to be a member of Ballet Ensemble of Texas (company of BAT) taking six ballet classes a week, plus modern, jazz, and tap. Depending on the time of the year, we have rehearsals ranging from 5-9 hours per week.
I have attended American Ballet Theater’s New York summer intensive for the last three summers. During the summers of 2007 and 2008, I went to American Ballet Theater’s Young Dancer program. This summer, I was blessed by being chosen as a National Training Scholar for the summer intensive. I was also chosen to be the Isabelle G. Goldberg scholar chosen by Melissa Bowman.
Right now, the Ballet Ensemble of Texas is preparing for our spring performance where we will perform Coppelia. Thom Clower came this summer to set this full-length ballet on us. We are also preparing for the National Festival in Canada. I have been rehearsing for YAGP for several months. This year, I performed an Odalisque variation from Le Corsaire, and a contemporary piece choreographed by Tammie Reinsch. I placed in the top twelve for my classical variation.
Within the next two years, I want to continue dancing and obtaining harder parts within our company. I also hope to be looking at second companies to join. My goal is to become a stronger and more powerful dancer with precise movement and quick articulation.
The Dance Council North Texas allowed me to spend five weeks at American Ballet Theater's summer intensive in New York City. I danced from 9-5, Monday-Friday with classes in technique, pas de deux, pointe, jazz, modern, character, and rehearsals for our ending performance. Throughout the intensive, we also had lectures about nutrition and health, dance history, and meet the artist with Julie Kent, David Hallberg, and Misty Copeland.
I enjoyed everything about the summer intensive. The faculty, my wonderful friends, and the city itself were amazing. The teachers were very hands on and pin pointed the small things that each student needed to strengthen. They pushed me to reach a new level of clarity in my dancing. The teachers included Franco de Vita, Raymond Lukens, Gabby Brown, Leslie Browne, Ethan Brown, and Lupe Serrano. Each teacher brought different thoughts and had their own distinct way of sharing them. Each teacher helped me to improve and grow stronger in many different ways. My level had the opportunity to have a class taught by Julie Kent. Watching her teach was so inspiring and the class was amazing. I made many friends that I have been keeping in touch with since the intensive. Although we didn't live in dorms, we all bonded during the long days of dancing. By the end of the summer, we were all such good friends and I had the hardest time leaving them. The people at ABT helped me learn so much about my technique and myself as a person.
With the amount of dancing en pointe this summer, I feel like my pointe work and articulation in my shoes really improved. I also feel as though I gained an immense amount of strength and solidity. Gabby Brown, a former ABT dancer, was one of my favorite teachers. She had a charisma about her that made me look forward to her classes. She always made us laugh and smile during the whole class and helped us to relax through the intense five weeks. Her corrections were also very helpful because she focused on artistry as well as technique. I loved every teacher, but Mrs. Brown definitely inspired me this summer.
At the end of the 5 weeks, each level performed a repertoire piece and a choreography piece. The top three levels rehearsed together and performed sections from Etudes. While rehearsing, I fell in love with the music and the choreography of Etudes. I loved how each step had their own count, so everyone was together and clean. For choreography, my level did a piece choreographed by Raymond Lukens and rehearsed by Franco de Vita. I loved working with Mr. de Vita because he wanted everything to look perfect. His rehearsals really pushed me to be as clean and technical as I could be.
I am so thankful that DCNT helped me get to NYC. After the summer intensive, I was awarded a full scholarship to attend the year round JKO School at ABT. I will begin training there in September and will definitely attend the intensive next summer. This summer strengthened my dancing and brought me one step closer to my goal of dancing professionally!
~ Claire Boren