Cary, NC- International Ballet Academy (IBA) took nine dancers on their first trip to the World Ballet Competition in Orlando, Florida earlier this month.
The studio opened a year ago with hopes of sending some of their students to this international competition and then on to professional ballet careers. Artistic Director Miguel Campaneria’s had high hopes also for his male dancers, several of whom moved here with him from Hartford, CT last summer. They did not disappoint.
The Road to Compete
In January, each dancer sent audition videotapes of themselves performing. By early February, IBA knew they were preparing to take nine dancers on the road for the week long competition. Each student prepared 1-3 pieces of classical ballet chosen from list of dances, and was allowed to choreograph their own contemporary piece.
During the short time from February to May 30, the dancers had to perfect their routines, and have costumes created by Mary Baylus and Diane Schaubach. All this, while still rehearsing the studio’s own Spring recital of Don Quiote.
The rigor involved was not for everyone, and the dancers that were chosen by the studio, had to be able to handle this additional workload.
Competing Against Pros
I asked Miguel about his expectations for the group: He said knew that Nikki Fanney would be well prepared to compete in her age level (11-12). The difficulty came with the older dancers who (aged 15-17), it turned out, were competing against professionals aged up to 22 years old.
He said the three couples he sent to compete in the Pas De Duex (duets) were well prepared and he had a lot of faith in their talents, but, he added, they were lacking competition experience, and were nervous. This first experience has opened many doors for them and they plan to return next year.
Next Year Even Better
“Hopefully the kids that went, will have had this experience and will be able to control their nerves” and perform against these pros.” He mentioned that many of the other dancers had been 3-4 times to this World competition.
The studio won the praises not only of the judges but of many coaches from other ballet schools. And the rewards are many:
- Nikki Fanney won the Silver Medal in the Introductory Division, Preston Chamblee received a full scholarship to Central Florida Ballet for summer 2012, Paul Branco and Xavier Nunez received full scholarships to Orlando Ballet for summer 2012.
- Robert Hill, the artistic director of Orlando Ballet gave high praise to the group and said the group are all admitted to Orlando Ballet Summer Program in 2012 without any need for auditions.
- Preston Chamblee (competed in Pre-Professional Category ages 14-17)
- Paul Branco and Kelsey Yoquelet (competed in Pas de Deux Category ages 14-22)
- Preston Chamblee and Regan Kucera (competed in Pas de Deux Category ages 14-22)
- Xavier Nunez and Kathryn Manger (competed in Pas de Deux Category ages 14-22)
- Anissa Bailis (competed in Preparatory Category ages 12-13)
- Victoria Wong (competed in Preparatory Category ages 12-13)
- Nicole Fanney (competed in Introductory Category ages 11-12)
No Time To Relax
The pre-professional program does not stop because it is summer vacation. In fact summer means MORE dance. The older dancers will be heading to New York and San Francisco for their summer training next week, while the younger students are studying this summer with Haydée Gutierrez, Roberto Munoz, Melinda Roy at IBA.