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HomeCourtlyn Hanson

COURTLYN HANSON 13  Natalie Skelton Tutu Memorial Scholarship

Courtlyn Hanson has been dancing for 10 years at the Ballet Academy of Texas. She loves ballet more than anything else in the world, and one day hopes to be accepted into the American Ballet Theatre Company in New York City.

Courtlyn plans to attend several summer dance intensives and hopes by the end of summer she will be a better ballet dancer— making her dance teachers and parents really proud of her.

My summer intensive at American Ballet Theatre in New York City was an amazing learning experience that was very well rounded. Not only did we take ballet classes everyday, but we also had jazz, character, variations, and many other classes that help with increasing flexibility and core strength. I was able to take classes from some of the most famous and well respected ballet teachers in the world including Franco Davita, David Howard, Wes Chapman, Leslie and Ethan Brown, and Olga Dvorovenko. I was honored to be placed in such a high level for my age, and I had the opportunity to be in this level with many of the JKO students who dance for ABT's pre-professional school year round. 

There are three very important aspects of the ABT curriculum which are turnout, balance and control. One of the things that I have been trying to improve over the past year is my turnout. We took a fabulous series of yoga, body conditioning, and pilates classes that contained many exercises to help increase my turnout. Outside of taking classes everyday, I was fortunate enough to see Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake performed by American Ballet Theatre which gave me such inspiration to challenge myself even more in the future. Our repertoire piece for the final performance was the Candle Dance from La Bayadere. This took an incredible amount of balance and control. The body conditioning classes taught me several new exercises to help increase the strength of my feet and ankles. I feel like these classes really helped strengthen and prepare me to perform this piece with slow grace. I was very impressed with the incredible choreography I performed in the contemporary section of the final performance. I was fortunate to have Joe Istre choreograph our contemporary piece which was a very emotional and moving lyrical piece by Celine Dion that celebrated America. I feel that the 6 weeks I spent over the summer in New York have physically prepared me for a very challenging year. I am so very grateful to have had this oppurtunity this summer, and I want to thank you again for this wonderful scholarship.