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Where Are They Now?
Isabelle Seiler 15 ~
Natalie Skelton Tutu Marvelous Memorial Scholarship
loves to dance and has danced as long as she can remember. She started ballet classes before her third birthday. By the time she turned four, she was so eager to go to class that her mother signed her up for a second school so she could take twice a week! At age five, Isabelle found Philadelphia Dance Theatre. She has been attending PDT and training with Joy Delaney Capponi and her faculty ever since, studying ballet, jazz and modern dance. She especially loves performing classical ballet and enjoys contemporary pieces. Isabelle considers PDT her second home and family. Besides loving to perform, she says that dancing always makes any stresses she has go away.
Isabelle is thankful to have been home-schooled since eighth grade, because her schedule is crazy with rehearsals and hours at the studio throughout the year. She and her mom drive a lot! She also likes to take a class in New York, whenever she can. Last fall, Isabelle began taking a few open ballet classes with choreographer, Christopher Fleming. He offered to set a pas de deux on her and her partner and invited them to perform it with his new company, BalletFleming, at the Painted Bride Arts Center in Philadelphia. She feels so lucky to have been able to observe company rehearsals and be part of this production.
By the end of high school, Isabelle hopes to have an apprenticeship with a ballet company and gradually pursue a college degree. She also enjoys design and writing. For now, she would like to get the best training she can so that can dance with any of the great companies in the United States, Canada or Europe.
Isabelle will be spending her summer in Toronto with Canada’s National Ballet School and will attend Ellison Ballet in August. She was recently accepted to ABT's Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis School for the coming fall.
Me (far left) with my class and Mrs. Hess
Me and Vera Timashova
National Ballet School of Canada studios!
During the four weeks of July, I attended National Ballet School of Canada, in Toronto. For new students, the summer session is actually an audition for the year round school, where students are taught ballet, modern, and academics all under one roof! While in class, with wonderful training every day, we were also being assessed. Each class felt especially challenging because of this, but the friends I made and the great teachers made it more fun than stressful.
The average day started off waking up at 6:30am and heading to breakfast at 7:30. Then, around 8:00, my friends and I would take a short walk down the block to where all of the studios are located. We started off our day with a technique class, then a small break and lunch before pointe class. After that came modern, pool conditioning and creative learning! The days at NBS were very tiring but well worth the time and effort. Once all classes were finished we would head back to the dorms where we could then relax. If I wasn't too exhausted after classes, I was free to explore all of Toronto. My friends and I found many great things to do, such as a restaurant where we made our own Asian noodles!
My favorite part of the dancing day was the pointe class, with my teacher Mrs. Hess. Deborah Hess is a very hands-on teacher, which I like because I think it is the most helpful way of learning. When she wasn't trying to think of extreme ways of describing how she wants us to do certain steps, she was giving us pointers on how to better improve the two variations we were learning, Tchaikovsky's Pas De Deux and the trio from La Bayadere. Vera Timashova was another favorite teacher, who taught ballet. She showed she cared about each one of us, perked us up when needed and kept us smiling as we worked!
Besides all the amazing teaching at National Ballet School, all of the faculty and students were very warm - hearted and friendly. The auditioning students (including me) were all welcomed sweetly by the students of NBS. Everybody was fun to be around, and from what I'm aware, nobody felt left out. The school is also fortunate to have expert fitters on staff and its own pointe shoe store, where shoes can be adjusted for students. Students from all over Canada order shoes from The Shoe Room.
If I could go back to NBS for a second summer, I would go there without a question! Everything about it was beautiful: the studios, the pianists' playing and Toronto! Sadly I cannot return for the summer, unless I am a current year round student of NBS or a foreign exchange student. I will not be auditioning in summer school again, as I was surprised and very happy to be be told that I was accepted into the school for year round program. Although I have decided to attend another program, which is closer to home, I wouldn't change a thing about NBS. I honestly think it was as close to perfect as a program could get, from the food to the dorms, to the studios and teachers.
I learned so much over that month, and I will never forget all of the friends that I made and the teachers that I had. I would love to audition for NBS's Post Secondary Program, which is for one year after twelfth grade. I would also love to join the company, National Ballet of Canada, although I can only take one thing at a time! NBS has made such an impact on my summer. It is an experience that I know I will never forget. Thank you to my sponsors at North Texas Dance Council for helping to make my summer in Canada possible!
~ Isabelle Seiler
Isabelle has received a scholarship from ABT to continue studying with the
School of American Ballet Theatre for the 2012/13 school year and just completed the summer program at ABT in New York on full scholarship.