Gillian Fitz 14 ~ Elaine Harper Ballet Scholarship
My name is Gillian Fitz; I’m 14 years old and live in Colleyville, Texas. I began studying the Vaganova method of ballet at The Marina Almayeva School of Classical Ballet five years ago, and I am diligently working towards the pursuit of a professional ballet career.
Dedication and passion drive me to be the best I can be, both on and off stage. As a 9th grade honor student at Colleyville Heritage High School, I strive for academic excellence, and my commitment to ballet is no different.
Having competed in the Youth America Grand Prix regional and national final competitions, as well as the American Ballet Competition, I love my time both on stage and in the studio, where I currently dance six days week. I’ve enjoyed attending The Texas Ballet Theater and Bolshoi Ballet Academy’s summer programs the last two years, and look forward to a new adventure this summer. While I’ve been invited to participate in the Atlanta Ballet and Bolshoi Ballet Academy’s intensive programs, I’ve also been invited to attend the School of American Ballet program in New York and have elected to join them this summer. I’m looking forward to a challenging five weeks developing my technique, presentation and musical artistry with the incredible teachers of SAB.
As I continue to train under the direction of Marina Almayeva and broaden my experiences through participating in a variety of summer intensive programs, my ultimate goal is to dance with a professional ballet company.
Gillian at Lincoln Center
I would like to thank The Dance Council of North Texas for awarding me with the Elaine Harper Scholarship, permitting me to attend The School of American Ballet’s Summer Course. The experience was incredible and something I will never forget! At first, I was apprehensive about living in New York for five weeks by myself. That changed as soon as I checked in and met some of the dancers I would be spending my summer with! Time flew more quickly than I had hoped, and before I knew it I was flying home with unforgettable memories and my notebook filled with daily corrections.
I have been training the Vaganova technique for the past five years, so branching out to the Balanchine method was a huge challenge. From the stylizing of the hands, arms, and head, to the speed, much faster, I embraced every unfamiliar step. Another significant change was taking every class, everyday, on pointe. Today I feel stronger than ever. From partnering classes taught by Jock Soto, to weekly classes from the incredible Darci Kistler and Kay Mazzo, and not to mention time spent with New York City Ballet principal dancers Abi Stafford and Megan Fairchild, the training was simply top notch!
While the scholarship allowed me five weeks filled with challenging and rewarding dance, I also gained numerous friends from across the country. Living with six other girls certainly taught me a lot about myself. I feel as if I am a more mature, independent, and capable fifteen year old. I never could have imagined exploring the streets of New York City without my parents, but I certainly did! These friendships and this SAB experience will stick with me forever!
What an inspiration these five weeks were! I was living my dream. Dancing at Lincoln Center, standing in the shoes of so many great New York City Ballet dancers, I still can’t believe it happened to me. I’m honored to have been recognized with the Elaine Harper Scholarship from The Dance Council of North Texas.