The Ballet in the City Scholarship (founded in 2015 as The Misty Copeland Scholarship) was established by Ballet in the City founder Jessica Wallis and Misty Copeland. This scholarship is given to African American dancers involved in classical ballet to help them with the costs of pursuing their dream. This past year was the first time Ballet in the City awarded the scholarship to two recipients, one male and one female.
The male recipient for 2017 is Loren Walton from Austin, Texas. Over the summer Loren attended the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s (PNB) Summer Course in Seattle, Washington. We recently asked Loren some questions about his experience at PNB. Here’s what he had to say:
Ballet in the City: What has been the most rewarding part of your experience with the PNB School and why?
Loren Walton: The most rewarding part of my experience was being able to be taught from so many amazing teachers and be around so many talented dancers. I had the best experiences, and hope to get the opportunity to encounter something else of this sort again.
BIC: What has been the challenging part? Are there any obstacles you have had to overcome this summer? If so, what were they?
LW: The most challenging part of the summer course is not being intimidated by other dancers. Being at a place such as Pacific Northwest Ballet, there is an abundance of talent around me, I have to remember to not compare myself to others, and really focus on myself and what I personally can get out of this intensive.
BIC: What is something you have learned, either about ballet or about yourself, through this experience?
LW: During these 5 weeks, I have really relearned my love and passion for ballet. Living and breathing ballet for the past weeks have been indescribable and refreshed my memory in why I dance, and why I will continue to dance in the near future.
BIC: Have you gotten to take class from Peter Boal, the Artistic Director of PNB? If you can, describe your experience with hm.
LW: The Artistic Director of PNB, Peter Boal, would teach my class about twice a week. Classes with Mr.Boal always have you on your toes, (no pun intended). Peter’s classes were very enjoyable, and I always strived to dance at my personal best.
BIC: What have been your favorite classes this summer and why?
LW: My favorite classes this summer have by far been the technique and men’s classes. I absolutely love everything about the Balanchine aesthetic, and absorbed so much informational material by taking classes with an abundance of male dancers.
BIC: Do you think you would like to join this company in the future? Why or why not?
LW: Pacific Northwest Ballet is an outstanding company, and I would dance with this company in a heartbeat. They dance with such poise and position and have very good qualities of artistry and musicality. During the intensive, company members took our classes, and we could watch the company rehearse Balanchine’s Jewels, which was very exciting, and gave me a glimpse into the professional pathway.
BIC: What are your goals for the future (the next 5 years)?
LW: In the upcoming 5 years, my goals are to attend a ballet school such as Pacific Northwest Ballet, or the School of American Ballet. In the future, I see myself dancing with a professional company, and will try my best to turn those dreams into realities.
BIC: How did you become involved with the PNB School? What were auditions like?
LW: I attended one of the many international audition tours held by PNB in Early January of this year. I then was chosen to attend the 2017 Summer Course held in Seattle, Washington, and was offered a full tuition scholarship.
BIC: What advice would you give to those that want to take part in summer intensives/will audition in the future?
LW: My advice to future dancers wishing to take part in summer intensives that will be auditioning in the future is to most importantly have the time of your life. This carries from the audition to the summer course. At the audition do not focus on other dancers, focus on you and only you, dance how you dance, and remember, it never hurts to crack a smile every once in a while.
BIC: Why push yourself to take part in this intensive instead of having a relaxing summer like many kids your age?
LW: For ballet dancers, choosing your career starts way earlier than other kids my age. Having a profession in the dance field is my path, and summer is a great time for me to go places and really focus on my training.
BIC: Any other interesting facts you want to tell us about the PNB School or your summer?
LW: Thank you to anyone who played a role in participating, and this summer was definitely one to remember and is one for the books.