Left to right: Central Texas Ballet Conservatory (CTBC) students Ravelle Dundon, Anouk Martin and Brittni Van Dine discuss instructions with CTBC co-director Caitlin Kelly.
The Pointe Dance Studio, 101 East Hopkins Street, has a new name, new owners and an intensified focus on serious ballet study. The studio’s new name, the Central Texas Ballet Conservatory, reflects that focus. The studio was purchased by dance experts and trainers at the Pointe, Keith Duncan and Caitlin Kelly.
Duncan is is artistic director of River City Ballet, in addition to being director of the Central Texas Ballet Conservatory. A former professional dancer and choreographer, he has trained students who have been accepted into some of the most prestigious ballet schools in the world, including the Juilliard School, the American Ballet Theatre and the Royal Ballet School.
Co-director Kelly trained for many years in the internationally respected Cecchetti method of classical ballet. She danced with the Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet Ensemble in San Francisco and performed modern dances for a variety of California choreographers.
“Our goal is to give young dancers pre-professional training that is worthy of any major, respected urban ballet conservatory,” said Duncan. “My goal is that our students’ technical and artistic ability is comparable to that of other pre-professional students worldwide.”
Added Kelly, “Although we are strengthening our ballet instruction, we will continue to offer courses in other dance disciplines, including jazz, tap, contemporary, and hip hop, as well as tumbling and stretch. We’ll also provide recreational ballet classes for students who are not interested in the more rigorous conservatory program.”
The Central Texas Ballet Conservatory (CTBC) also is home to the River City Ballet, the youth ballet company of Central Texas. River City Ballet’s annual performance of the “Nutcracker” has become an annual event in the area. During the summer of 2010, the majority of River City Ballet’s student dancers were accepted into prestigious summer training programs with the best ballet companies in the nation, including the American Ballet Theatre, the Joffrey Ballet, the Chicago Ballet and others.
“As a dance instructor, my main goal is to inspire and pass on my love of movement,” said Kelly. “Our training isn’t just about learning how to dance. It also focuses on helping each student mature into a responsible, well-rounded individual. The lessons learned in dance classes can translate into many different aspects of life.”
Added Duncan, “We are thrilled to have this opportunity and believe that Central Texas is ready for a rigorous, pre-professional dance school.”
The CTBC is offering a new scholarship worth thousands of dollars that will cover the entire year of dance instruction for a student in financial need who would like to participate in the program.
“We are excited to have this opportunity to educate and nurture young dancers,” said Duncan. “Part of that process is helping them to extend their dedication to dance into other areas, especially schoolwork and community service. To support dancers who are good students and demonstrate financial need, we will be offering the Clementina Corres Perusquia Memorial Scholarship to waive their conservatory tuition for one year. ”
The scholarship was created to honor Clementina Corres Perusquia, a resident of Mazatlan and New Braunfels. Perusquia, who passed away on June 13, founded the Instituto Anglo Moderno, a private school in Mazatlan that is respected throughout Mexico. Her granddaughter, Paige Perusquia of New Braunfels, has been a student at Central Texas Ballet Conservatory for six years and also has been a member of River City Ballet for three years. The Clementina Corres Perusquia Memorial Scholarship will be awarded annually.
“My mother never missed her granddaughter’s ballet performances,” said Ernesto Perusquia, Clementina’s son. “She loved the beauty of ballet and admired the commitment demanded by serious study of dance. She would have been thrilled to have her name live on in support of young dancers at Central Texas Ballet Conservatory.”
Said Kelly, “Students must have a financial need for the scholarship. They should demonstrate that the requirements of intensive study of ballet would place a hardship on their family.”
Said Duncan, “The purpose of the scholarship is to provide assistance to students who show musicality and dexterity in dance. They must possess discipline in both dance studies and academics.”
Auditions for the scholarship will be held at noon on Saturday at the Central Texas Ballet Conservatory. The scholarship winner will receive a complete waiver of tuition for all ballet classes and for one class in another form of dance, such as jazz, tap, contemporary, or hip-hop. Scholarship winners are required to maintain good scholastic standing and to follow all of the conservatory’s rules and policies.
Students who are interested in auditioning should bring a copy of the last school report card and a copy of the family’s most recent tax return to the audition. Those interested may contact the studio for further information before the audition by calling (512) 396-8736.
Left to right: Brittni Van Dine and Ravelle Dundon practice at the bar under the direction of Caitlin Kelly.