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HomeLauren Gifford

Lauren Gifford 15 ~ Joyce Seaborne Bader Memorial Scholarship

Lauren Gifford is a freshman at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, Texas.  She has also been studying dance at Taylor Dance Center in McKinney for 8 years.

Lauren's goals include advancing as much as possible in dance by exposing herself to new styles of movement. Excellence in academics for college acceptance is also of great importance. She would really like to major in dance and attend a school with an exceptional dance program.


This summer, I received a scholarship to attend the Texas Ballet Theater School’s summer intensive in Dallas. I enjoyed this experience very much and would love the opportunity to do it again. I am so grateful that I was able to experience a professional ballet school and I have learned so much from my time with the teachers and students. I feel that this workshop was very beneficial to my technique, work ethic, and general education. The teachers at the T.B.T. school were challenging and great role models. I would have liked to have had more time than just three hours each day to dance and possibly more jazz/lyrical classes but overall I enjoyed the individual classes very much.

During the intensive I had two main teachers; Mrs. Jan Miller, and Mrs. Anna Donovan, they both were very inspirational to me and I greatly enjoyed each of their classes. I really enjoyed Mrs. Miller’s class because I think I made progress in making ballet more artistic and beautiful in my body which is something I had never been able to do before. I have always tried to make my dancing very technical and precise but I learned that I could have all the correct positions and make them artistic. In Mrs. Donovan’s class I think she inspired me to be harder on myself and to try to make everything I do perfect. She expected me to be the best that I possibly could and that attitude made me expect the same of myself.

Mrs. Miller and Mrs. Donovan as well as Mrs. Lyndette Galen challenged me during my time with them to try my hardest and be my best. These teachers challenged both emotionally and mentally but also physically. My instructors at T.B.T school each taught a different style of ballet than the others and from styles I had previously studied. It was a challenge to try to master the styles that were being taught and to not let my previous training cloud my ability to be open minded about what I was learning. I was challenged to quickly pick up combinations and then do them well. I loved the challenge of learning ballet repertory from Mrs. Donovan because it was difficult choreography and styles.

I think that the biggest surprise from my experience this summer was the discovery that I am actually a much better dancer than I have ever given myself credit for before. I have never had very much self confidence and the teachers were very encouraging and I was surprised to find that I have confidence in myself and that confidence has made me a better dancer. I am now not so afraid of not being good enough for the many things I want to do with my life.

I expect that the effects of my experience at Texas Ballet Theater School’s summer intensive will be great and many. I now have much more confidence in myself and I think that will help me in applying for jobs and in my performance on stage. I have gotten experience in absorbing new styles from new teachers and I think these experiences will allow me to be quicker in learning new choreography in the future. I think I will also be more ready and willing to accept the various challenges that come along with being a professional dancer from my preparations at T.B.T. Overall I learned so much this summer and I am so grateful that I have been able to have this experience and I would love to do it again!

~ Lauren