ARIAH MANDENO NZ AT TEXAS BALLET THEATER USA
Above Ariah at Texas Ballet Theater
16 Years Old
Mt Eden Ballet Academy
AHA Supreme Quarter Finalist 2019
Texas Ballet Theatre 5 week Summer Intensive
Ariah writes …..
I am very grateful to the competition adjudicators for awarding me this scholarship – and to the Alana Haines Australasian Awards Committee for supporting me to attend. I had such a wonderful time at the Alana Haines competition and was very humbled to have received this award.
The summer intensive was held in Fort Worth, Texas at the Texas Christian University Campus. Everything about the campus was beautiful – the architecture, the gardens, and the dance studios. We lived at the campus dormitories throughout the intensive – which was very social and lots of fun. There were dancers from all over America as well as myself and another dancer from Australia. The program directors, administrators and dormitory chaperones were very welcoming and embracing. I really enjoyed staying in the dormitories – which was an entirely new experience for me. I got to know not only the other dancers in my class so much better but also all the other dancers in the intensive. I very quickly felt part of the Texas Ballet Theatre family.
I found the variety and caliber of teaching so inspiring – all of the classes were high energy, high standard, challenging and exciting. I felt that all of the teachers were committed to supporting us to develop our technique and artistry in every dance style that was taught. We focused on classical technique in the mornings (class, pointe, pas de deux and repertoire) and then had a variety of different classes in the afternoons – including contemporary, character, Broadway jazz, flamenco and Latin.
We were very fortunate to be taught by Joe Walsh from the San Francisco Ballet for pas de deux class for one week of the intensive and to be coached by Anna Donovan; the Principal Ballet Master for repertoire class. In repertoire, we learned Ben Stevenson's Sleeping Beauty. Anna Donovan would explain what she wanted from a movement, a sequence or a dance but she also wanted us to explore movement that made sense to us – so we could really put ourselves into the choreography. It was quite insightful to see how she worked with professional dancers in the company. Other amazing teachers included former principals with the Houston ballet; Lauren Anderson, Janie Parker, Tim O'Keeffe, and current dancers with the Texas Ballet Theatre.
At the end of the intensive, we performed in a showcase to show our friends and family what we had learned. My class performed our repertoire from Sleeping Beauty which included the Act Two Nymph Entrance and Coda, Act One Friends, and The Act Two Vision Variation which was very special because it was Ben Stevenson's choreography (and he watched us perform). It was great having the opportunity to be able to perform in front of an audience.
The five weeks went by very quickly - and I was sad when it ended. I was made to feel so welcome and left the intensive feeling stronger in my dancing and more independent in myself. Thank you so much for this opportunity - then entire experience was really a dream come true.
Final performance at Texas Ballet Theater