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HomeCourtlyn Hanson 2012

Courtlyn Hanson 15 ~ Fred Kelly Scholarship


My name is Courtlyn Hanson and I am 15 years old. I have been dancing for 12 1/2 years at the Ballet Academy of Texas under the direction of Lisa Slagle. I currently dance 30 hours a week which includes a pre-professional program in the morning, regular classes at night, and rehearsals on the weekends. I take ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, modern, pilates, yoga, and a pas de deux class.

In August of 2010 I severely sprained my ankle while in rehearsal for Youth America Grand Prix and was unable to perform. Unfortunately, 4 months later I was diagnosed with Os Trigonums in both ankles. These are extra bones that exist in the back of my ankles and make it extremely painful to point my foot or releve. As a family, we decided to travel to Boston Childrens’ Hospital in August 2011 to have surgery done by the leading surgeon for the Boston Ballet, known for correcting this defect. Due to recovery time, I was unable to dance for several months.

Although I have been awarded a scholarship to San Francisco Ballet’s summer intensive, I have chosen to return to ABT in New York City, where I would love to dance professionally in the future. 

This past weekend I competed in the Youth America Grand Prix semi-finals in Irving Texas in the senior division for the first time. I placed 3rd out of 100 dancers in the classical division and in the top 12 with my contemporary piece. I am planning to compete in the Finals in New York City.

Dance is my life and my love, and I want to be able continue it for many years to come. I hope by the end of the summer I will come back as a stronger and more mature dancer.


This summer my Dance Council scholarship allowed me to attend American Ballet Theater's summer intensive in NYC. It was definitely one of my best summers so far! I had so much fun meeting such great friends, and learned a lot from a variety of different teachers. We had technique, pointe, pas de deux, jazz, modern, and character classes. A great surprise during the summer intensive was having class from Kevin McKenzie, the artistic director of ABT. We usually had classes from 9:00-5:00 Monday through Friday with rehearsals for the final performance at the end of the day. For our repertoire piece, the top three levels performed sections from Etudes, and I was fortunate enough to be given the lead in a pas de deux. This was a great challenge for me, and I really got to focus on musicality and control. We performed Ratmansky's Snow Scene for our choreography piece which was so amazing. It was so different from the snow scene I am used to performing, and it was really great to learn something new.

I feel like this summer I was able to focus on my technique and making everything very clean.  I also gained a lot of strength and power, which has improved my grand allegro quite a bit.  I hope to return to ABT next summer, and eventually become a part of their company.  I am so thankful that the Dance Council of North Texas awarded me with this scholarship. It allowed me to have a fantastic!  I promise to keep working hard and improving everyday!