Calley Skalnik 17 ~ Natalie Skelton Memorial Ballet Scholarship
My name is Calley Skalnik, and my hometown is Tulsa, Oklahoma. At the age of eight I began to study at the Tulsa Ballet Center for Dance Education. I was privileged to attend Youth America Grand Prix last year (2012) and travel to New York for the competition, during which I was offered a scholarship to attend Canada's National Ballet School. Inspired by the big city and motivated by the young dancers who were there, I was excited to move out and pursue a career in ballet. Dance has always been a necessity for me. Ballet has become a way that I give back to others and express something that can only be portrayed through art. This year I am seventeen and a senior, and this is my first year to study at Canada's National Ballet School for both ballet and academics. The incredible opportunity to study abroad has opened my eyes to the international world of ballet and the caliber of training required to join a company.
This year I would like to attend the National Ballet of Canada's summer program to continue to improve both technically and artistically. The teachers here have impacted my life in many ways and it would be an honor to continue to train here for the summer. Last year I was graciously awarded a DCNT scholarship which enabled me to attend the Ellison Ballet Summer Intensive in New York City, which was the best summer of my life this far. Being surrounded by inspired young dancers, great friends, and incredible teachers challenged me to grow in new and unexpected ways. Without that summer training experience I would never be where I am today! Thank you so very much!
The National Ballet of Canada is my dream company for which I aspire to work. Training at the school has prepared me for this goal and in the next two years I hope to join a training or apprentice program. This scholarship would enable me to study under teachers that have been in the company of National Ballet and have experienced my lifelong dream. The summer program would also help prepare me for the technical and stylistic qualities that are required of a dancer pursuing a professional career.
For the past three weeks I have been privileged to attend the summer school program at Canada's National Ballet School. It has been both an educational and motivational experience. Foreign dancers and teachers, new classes, and choreographic opportunities challenged me to grow in several ways. For the first time I experienced consistency in my movement. I found what it really means to be internally motivated and work to your absolute maximum every single day. Through meditation, and freedom to make artistic choices, I found myself as a dancer and grew in my technical abilities.
Ms. Zimmerman, a guest teacher from Amsterdam, introduced acting into our everyday technique classes, creating analogies that invoked a specific movement quality. She encouraged playfulness which added energy to the daily ballet exercises. Mr. Smith, a year round teacher at the school, challenged my technical abilities and pushed me above my limits to perform variations I never thought possible.
Another very special opportunity to which I was honored to take part in was the Stephen Godfrey Choreographic Workshop. I had the chance to work with the costume department, stage and lighting designers, and composers to create a piece that was to be performed onstage for an audience. I have only danced for choreographers, so becoming one was a new experience entirely. I had the chance to portray my ideas and work with fellow classmates in one on one studio time. This choreographic workshop has opened my eyes to new possibilities in the world of dance that I would like to continue exploring. Thank you for such an inspiring summer and for providing such exciting opportunities.