Melissa Anderson 15 ~ Texie Waterman Memorial Scholarship
My name is Melissa Anderson and I have been dancing for eleven years as a student at the Ballet Academy of Texas in Coppell, Texas. Currently I take ballet, modern, and jazz classes. In the past I took two years of tap and hip hop. I currently attend four ballet classes, one modern class, and one jazz class per week; for a total of 8.5 hours a week. I am fifteen years old and a sophomore at John Paul II High School in Plano, Texas. Besides dancing, I enjoy hanging out with my friends, traveling with my family, reading, and shopping.
I am a second year member of the Ballet Ensemble of Texas Company. In addition to my dance classes, I dance five to six hours for company rehearsals every week. Last year, as an apprentice at my studio, I performed in the Regional Dance Festival in Houston. To improve my dancing, I have attended summer intensives since the seventh grade. The intensives that I have attended are: American Ballet Theatre in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Joffrey Ballet in San Antonio, Texas, Magnus Midwest in Flint, Michigan. Also, I was invited to attend the Joffrey, NY training program this past summer of 2011. Although I made the decision to not go this year so that I could get a good solid education, I was excited that I was invited to attend as a trainee because I was one out of 200 dancers that were invited out of 20,000 who auditioned.
This year, for the first time, I competed in the Youth American Grand Prix and performed a contemporary solo. The solo was choreographed by Darrell Cleveland, my jazz teacher, and it is titled “Bellator Fortis” which means “mighty warrior” in Latin.
My goals for the next two years are to graduate from high school and to increase my level and maturity in my dancing. When I graduate from high school, I want to go to college and major in dance and then hopefully join a dance company.
I had planned on again attending the Magnus Midwest Intensive which I had enjoyed very much last summer, so I did not audition for many other intensives. To make a long story short, I am happy and grateful that I had attended the Nashville Ballet’s three week summer intensive since the Magnus Midwest Intensive was canceled. My goals for this intensive were to improve my technique, work hard, and have fun. I wanted to improve my technique because I feel that I concentrate mostly on my artistry and presence on stage instead of the technicality of the movements that I am making.
That teacher that really pushed me to reach this goal was Ms. Nicole Koenig. I realize that she was the key to achieving one of my goals because she spent much of class time going over the proper way to perform specific movements. This is why I really appreciated and am grateful for her and her lessons. Even now, I find myself applying the techniques of her classes every day. Ms. Koenig also took the time to explain how to reach our full technical potential with our bodies.
Another instructor who opened my eyes to contemporary dance as a career choice is Ms. Banning Bouldin. She pushed me to keep up my energy and determination throughout the whole class. The biggest surprise for me during the intensive was that the Nashville Ballet Company members were there and took classes with the students. This gave me an opportunity to see them up close and see the determination needed for being in a professional company.
The classes always started at 9:30 every morning, except on Saturdays which started an hour later. Our day ended sometime between 3:30 and 4:30 afternoon depending on what level you were in. Every day after a two hour technique class, we were able to experience different styles of dances such as jazz and contemporary. A surprising class that we were able to take was a drama and expression class. This helped me pinpoint an exact emotion to portray in my dancing.
Another big plus of attending this intensive was the many great friends that I made. I did not have an assigned roommate, but luckily my suitemates were very friendly and open, so I was able to move my mattress into their room. While we all worked hard every day from Monday through Saturday, we also made time to relax and have fun. We also had two performances at the end of the intensive. It was fun to perform for our families. I especially enjoyed the choreography of Mr. Andrew Parker.
Thank you again Dance Council of North Texas for the Texie Waterman Memorial Scholarship which helped me to attend the Nashville Ballet’s summer intensive and improve my dancing. It is such an honor to have received this scholarship. I am forever grateful that you recognized my passion for dance. I cannot imagine a life without dance.
~ From Melissa Anderson