Author Archives: Ballet Austin

Ballet Austin

About Ballet Austin

Ballet Austin is a professional dance company which also offers professional classical ballet training and instruction through the Ballet Austin Academy, which is one of the largest in the U.S. We're committed to providing the highest quality dance instruction to students, and currently the Academy has more than 800 students. Ballet Austin's Butler Center for Dance & Fitness offers classes for all ages and skill levels. And our state-of-the-art Pilates Center is open 7 days a week and gives clients personalized training with one of the top voted instructors in Austin. Dance and fitness workshops are also available, as well as adult workshops and summer kids camps.

Dancer Holiday Wishlist

Recently we asked our Company Dancers to name one thing or two… or three… they would like for the holidays. Their answers may surprise you. Take a look to see what’s on the wish list of YOUR favorite dancer.

James Fuller:
Pyke’s Philosophers

Jordan Moser:
A flock of silly looking chickens

Preston Andrew Patterson:
A pair of custom-made Air Jordans size 11… oh yeah and peace and goodwill towards men, and all that jazz

Beth Terwilleger:
A composting system

Aara Krumpe:
Snow in Vermont so I can take my boys sledding!

Paul Michael Bloodgood:
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 for Xbox 360

Anne Marie Melendez:
Cookbooks related to my new hobby… “Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day” and “Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day” written by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. (The followups to “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day”)

Ian J. Bethany:
Terry Pratchett novels, Wii games and juggling rings!

Ed Carr:
A few extra windows in my living room

Oren Porterfield:
To be free of debt

Kirby Wallis:
Warm clothes for my trip with my husband to Portland & Seattle!

Chelsea Renner:
A house. (We got it! We start moving in the day after Christmas.)

Christopher Swaim:
Another Pomeranian

Becky Johnson:
A trip to Disneyland

Michael Burfield:
A Wii and a peacoat

Orlando Julius Canova:
A red bike helmet (but a good one)

Ashley Lynn Gilfix:
A new digital camera to take photos on our African Safari Trip over the holiday break

Michelle Thompson:
Time, wine, massages and diamonds

Jaime Lynn Witts and Frank Shott:
To sleep in

Brittany Strickland:
Leg warmers

Elise Pekarek:
Cowboy boots

A Look Back at Come Dance! 2011

A few weeks ago, we hosted our 4th annual Come Dance! celebration. Over 1,000 people streamed through our doors that Sunday to participate in over 18 different FREE dance classes, including 7 new ones. The day offered something for everybody – from West African Dance to Ballet. Check out a few snapshots from the day below, and make sure to check out our BCS Drop-In Class Schedule to see when you can try out a few classes on your own.

West African DanceOur NEW! West African Dance, taught by instructor Jean-Claude Lessou.

BalletBallet, taught by Company Dancer & BCS Instructor Orlando Canova.

Our NEW! Turbo-Kick (cool down phase), taught by our certified instructor Brittany Harpole.

TapOur NEW! Rhythm Tap, taught by instructor Tony Merriwether.

JazzJazz Funk, taught by instructor Kathryn Waggoner.

A big thank you to everyone who attended! We hope to see you again soon… For more information on Drop-in Classes and Courses (which start this week!) in the Butler Community School, please visit our website.

Ballet Austin Academy Open for Registration

Fall registration for the 2011/12 Academy school year is in full swing, and the Academy has something to offer every student, beginning as young as even 3 years old.

Creative Movement classes, designed for children ages 3-5, take the approach of “creative play” and are designed to hone motor skills, while educating children on movement. Classes meet once a week and offer “movement stories and ballet-based activities” appropriate for both boys and girls.

When children turn 5, they and their parents are given the option of moving onto our Pre-Ballet program, which is open to children ages 5-7. Pre-Ballet is more structured than creative movement, and serves as a transition between Creative Movement and when formal training begins at age 8, in Level 1.

In both our Creative Movement and Pre-Ballet programs, faculty in the Ballet Austin Academy place high emphasis on curriculum and age-appropriate teaching. Through these classes, we provide a place for children to not only have fun, but also take the opportunity to prepare themselves for a quality dance education. We believe that upholding excellence and professionalism starts with providing quality dance instruction at the youngest age possible.

At age 8, students may join Level 1 in the Lower School, marking their first step to professional ballet training. This age and level also mean another very special landmark: the age where Academy students have the opportunity to be cast in The Nutcracker! Each year, over 200 Academy students are cast our annual production exclusively.

If you are interested in enrolling your child, please check the Ballet Austin Academy‘s website for more detailed information, including new student registration forms.

Please note: students new to Ballet Austin but with prior experience, who are 8 and older, are required to attend a placement class. Dates, times and other important details are below.

Placement Class:
August 20, 2011
Ages 8-12 | 2-3:30pm
Ages 13 and older | 3:30-5pm
Note: Please arrive 30 minutes early for check-in

First Day of Class:
August 29, 2011


Photos by Anne Marie Melendez.

National Dance Day – A Recap

Thanks to everyone who came to Ballet Austin this past Saturday and donated their time, money and dancing moves for National Dance Day! With your help and participation, we were able to raise over $1,000 for our scholarship program. Included in the crowd was CultureMap Austin’s Michael Graupmann who, despite not donning his dance shoes, reported and recorded the event. Check out Michael’s article on National Dance Day, complete with video of the lively Kathryn Waggoner.

Too busy to make it out this past weekend? Worry not.

At the end of this month, we are hosting our own annual day of dance, Come Dance! 2011, on Aug. 28 and EVERY class is FREE. Come help us celebrate  our fourth anniversary in the Butler Dance Education Center. Check out the link above for more details!

National Dance Day – THIS SATURDAY!

That’s right everyone, National Dance Day is THIS Saturday – and we want to see you! Come support Ballet Austin’s scholarship program with $5 classes, while helping us celebrate National Dance Day, a nation-wide celebration organized by everyone’s favorite guilty pleasure… So You Think You Can Dance.

Here at Ballet Austin headquarters, we’ll be offering all of our regularly scheduled classes in addition to three classes that will focus solely on teaching the routines created by SYTYCD celebrity choreographers Mary Murphy, Robin Antin and NappyTabs.

More details on the classes and choreography videos below – you know, just in case you want to brush up on your moves before the big day.

Ballet Austin’s Featured “National Dance Day” Classes:

Beginner | 10 – 10:45am

Intermediate | 1:45 – 2:45pm
Ballet Austin Instructor: Kathryn Waggoner

Beginning at the age of 5, Kathryn Waggoner has an extensive background in dance. She was captain of her high school dance team and continued her dance and musical theater education at Baylor University. With 16 years of dance experience behind her, she has had the opportunity to train at the finest dance studios under some of the best dancers and choreographers in the business including: Wade Robson, Tyce Diorio, Shane Sparks, Mia Michaels, Brian Friedman, Gil Duldualo, Cris Judd, Laurieann Gibson, and Dave Scott. In the summer of 2009, Kathryn was chosen to be an intern at the Pulse On Tour dance convention in Los Angeles, and additionally had the opportunity to participate in a summer intensive dance program at the legendary Millennium Dance Complex. Kathryn is excited to be a part of Ballet Austin’s Butler Community School this season.

Master | 3 – 4pm
Ballet Austin Instructors: Kathryn Waggoner and Boo Ruiz

Boo Ruiz has more than 20 years of dance training in a variety of mediums. She was in the pre-professional program at Ballet Austin from 1996-1999 where she was fortunate enough to study under Mr. Stephen Mills. She has trained in jazz, hip-hop, tap, lyrical, ballroom, and contemporary dance all over the country in studios such as The EDGE PAC (West Hollywood, CA), The PAC Annex (Van Nuys, CA), Broadway Dance Center (NYC, NY), and Steps (NYC,NY). Boo was a competitive dancer from 1992-2003. In 2003 she was ranked as the number three competitive soloist in the nation (National Dance Finals in Orlando, Florida). Boo continues to dance and audition all over the United States and Canada. Boo began choreographing and teaching at the professional level in 2001.

As a dancer Boo has experienced first hand the benefits of Pilates, not only for rehabilitation purposes, but also for maintenance and fine tuning, and is a Certified Pilates Fitness instructor. She has studied under Pilates Program Director Vlada Sheber since 2000. Her understanding of the human body, the knowledge lent from Vlada, and countless hours on the equipment provide dynamic tools that Boo utilizes to create an independent program for each client. Her focus is on form, proper alignment of the body, and helping her clients trust their bodies so that they achieve their personal goals and reach their fullest potential. “Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential” – Winston Churchill


For more information, check out our website here.

We hope to see you on July 30th!

National Dance Day 2011

Are you a So You Think You Can Dance fan? If so, you’re probably aware by now that the second annual National Dance Day is rapidly approaching. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, mark your calendars because on July 30th, people around the country will strap on their dancing shoes and learn choreography created by three celebrity choreographers – Mary Murphy, Robin Antin and the duo behind NappyTabs.

Ballet Austin is incredibly excited to be the local venue and host for National Dance Day. On that Saturday, we will still be offering all of our regularly scheduled classes but will ALSO offer three event-specific classes (broken down by skill level), where your favorite BA instructors teach the choreography created for this national celebration. All ages and skill levels are welcome, and a $5 minimum (per class) tax-deductible donation is all that’s asked for admission for all classes. You don’t even need to worry about your class card. Just check out the schedule for that day, show up at the BCS, give your donation and start dancing!

Ballet Austin’s Featured “National Dance Day” Classes:

Beginner | 10 – 10:45am
Ballet Austin Instructor: Tina-Michelle Pittsley

Intermediate | 1:45 – 2:45pm
Ballet Austin Instructor: Kathryn Waggoner

Master | 3 – 4pm
Ballet Austin Instructors: Kathryn Waggoner and Boo Ruiz

For more information and to see the other choreography videos, check out our website here.

We hope to see you on July 30th!

Summer Intensive: Week Three… Wrapping Up Session One – Pt. 4

This is the last in a four-part blog series about our annual Summer Intensive program. This week, our Associate Artistic Director Michelle Martin discusses the mindset of students and BA artistic staff during the last week of Session One.

As we move into the third week of our Summer Intensive, there is a noticeable shift in the energy and pace of our studio process. The end of this week marks the close of the first session and there is a heightened sense of urgency, both in preparations for the performances on Friday, as well as the departure of some of our students.

Mr. Mills and I have spent the last 2.5 weeks teaching, rehearsing and observing our students and have started to compile a short list of dancers who we think would be a good fit for our Trainee Program or for a contract with Ballet Austin II. Though the extended audition process is understandably nerve-wracking for the students, it gives us the opportunity, in essence, to “read between the lines” of a dancer’s nervousness. We have begun to recognize which elements, both positive and negative, are most representative of each dancer’s work on an ongoing basis, an assessment that is highly significant when we are considering an extended commitment.

Those who are departing at the end of this session will have a conference with me before they leave during which I will talk to them about what possibilities are likely for them here. Though our short list is a clear sign that we’ve begun to discern our strongest candidates, definitive offers, particularly for Ballet Austin II contracts, will not be made until we are midway through the second session. This not only allows fair consideration of dancers who we will not see until Session Two begins next Monday, it also affords the opportunity for first session dancers who continue into the second session to assert themselves. Every year there are at least one or two students whose work in the final weeks of the program substantially distinguishes them, and they end up with an invitation to stay at Ballet Austin for the year.

The second round of students will will arrive this next Monday, beginning their registration and placement classes in the afternoon. We look forward to meeting them!