Rayleigh Vendt 15 ~ Denton City Contemporary Ballet Scholarship
photos by Cathy Vanover
Ever since she first rose en pointe at age eleven, Rayleigh Vendt knew she belonged in the professional ballet world. The music, movement, and joy of dancing seep into her soul washing away all worry. Rayleigh has danced since the age of five, starting with ballet and tap, then training in pointe, jazz, modern, and pas de deux. Since her family has moved around quite a bit, she has studied at many different studios. Rayleigh currently studies at Lisa Slagle’s Ballet Academy of Texas and is a Ballet Ensemble of Texas company member.
As ahe continues to improve over the upcoming years, Rayleigh hopes to join a professional ballet company where she can share her love of dance with audiences and students.
Through the Denton City Contemporary Ballet Scholarship, I was able to attend the San Francisco Ballet School Summer Intensive. The five week program allowed me to grow as both a dancer and a student. Monday through Saturday, I danced from 11:00 am to 5:15 pm, enjoying classes in technique, pointe, pas de deux, and contemporary. With every class, including contemporary, en pointe, I feel like my ability to manipulate my foot within the constraining shoe has improved. I also believe I now have more control over my energy. The variety of amazing teachers also opened my eyes to new approaches to technique. Each instructor phrased corrections uniquely so that everyone in the class could understand the suggestion. Petite teachers, such as Tina LeBlanc and Shannon Bresnahan, were able to give me useful corrections directly related to my short height. I became a stronger partner while learning the Le Corsaire and Grand Pas Classique Pas de Deuxs. In contemporary, I experienced the difficult and demanding choreography of William Forsythe, and enjoyed a release from the strictness of ballet while remaining en pointe. During lunch breaks, I watched the San Francisco Ballet members rehearse for their upcoming season and I acquired much information and inspiration from observing their dancing. The weekly “Meet the Artist” seminars also enlightened me to the reality of belonging to a ballet company. Thanks to the Dance Council, this summer not only strengthened my technical skills but also solidified, once more, my passion for the art and longing to dance for the rest of my life.