Our next BYB Spotlight is student Isabelle Morgan, who has been dancing with BYB since she was 4-years-old! Isabelle has taken our motto “…No Dream is Too BIG!” to heart, setting BIG goals for herself and working to achieve them through discipline and perseverance.
Isabelle’s dream was to dance with the prestigious School of American Ballet’s highly competitive summer intensive program in New York City. She got turned down on her first audition in 2013, but that didn’t deter her. It only made her work harder, smarter, and with more focus.
She auditioned again and was chosen from more than 2,000 ballerinas from all over the US for a coveted spot in the 2014 program. This photo was taken last July on her way to class.
Congratulations, Isabelle! And, thanks for showing us that it’s true: “…No Dream is Too BIG!”
Interview with Isabelle Morgan:
So, let’s get right to it. You aspire to be a professional ballerina, is that right?
Yes! New York City Ballet would be my preference…Paris Opera Ballet would be amazing. We’ll see.
When did you first become interested in dance?
Around 3-years-old, I remember that I watched a lot of Barbie movies. They would all be dancing, and I especially liked the ballet. So, I asked my mom if I could do that. She didn’t take me seriously, but when I kept asking her, she decided to enroll me in a class. We moved to BYB when I was 4-years-old, and I’ve been dancing here ever since.
What’s been a highlight for you?
Going en pointe was a very big thing for me. I remember being in pre-pointe (classes) and I kept getting more excited the closer I got. When I finally got to go en pointe, it was a reminder that this is what I want to be doing. I feel like it makes ballet even more exciting. It makes ballet special.
You’ve taken BYB’s motto “…No Dream is Too BIG!” to heart setting BIG goals for yourself.
Yes, the first big goal was to dance as Clara in BYB’s Nutcracker In One Act. I auditioned three times for that role and finally got it!
In 2014, you were accepted to the prestigious Summer Course for the School of American Ballet (Official School of the New York City Ballet), their summer intensive program, and spent July in New York City. When did you start thinking you might want to audition for SAB?
Insider’s note: More than 2,000 dancers from across the US audition for 200 spots. The intense five weeks of dance instruction helps prepare students for a career in classical ballet.
I was accepted to the Cincinnati Ballet’s Summer Intensive Program and that really improved my technique. I was a much stronger dancer when I returned to BYB that fall. I did a lot of research and decided I wanted to go away the next summer. The New York City Ballet is definitely one of my dream companies to dance with, and SAB is a training school for that company.
I tried out for SAB in 2013 when I turned 12 and was turned down. I went back for another audition in 2014 and got in.
How did you find out you were accepted?
It was soon after the audition, and I was looking at the pamphlets coming home from school in the car with my mom and sister. They told me that I had been accepted. At first, I was shocked. Then, I was overwhelmed. But, then I got really excited and overcome with joy.
So, you’ve had successes, but it seems you’ve also learned how to deal with rejection and disappointment – important qualities for an aspiring professional dancer.
All the teachers at BYB have taught me to never ever give up and to know that there’s going to be a lot of rejection. That a ‘no’ actually makes you become a better dancer than you were before, because it makes you realize that you do have flaws to work on and improve.
They’ve helped me understand that a ‘no’ doesn’t mean anything about you or you as a dancer. It just means at that moment that it’s not you. It’s helped me understand that you’re not always going to get the part you want, so you shouldn’t ever give up.
Getting Clara after that third audition was a boost to my confidence and made me realize that I could actually do what my dreams are and become a professional. That’s why I kept going back for the role of Clara and that’s why I auditioned again for SAB.
What sets BYB apart from other local schools? Do you think training at BYB helped in your path to gain entry to SAB?
Learning from my teachers how to get turned down and how to handle that definitely helped me to work harder and develop a better technique, so that I could have the chance to be selected.
SAB concentrates on quality over quantity. BYB has that same perspective. They’d rather see a clean single pirouette rather than a messy double. The emphasis is on classical ballet, and that’s not the case at other dance studios in town.
All the teachers know so much about the process, too. Ms Abbie gives us a list of schools and audition locations. I asked her which ones would be a good fit for me, and she pointed out 4 or 5 schools, one of which was SAB. Everyone at BYB is very supportive.
And, because it’s all youth, there’s the opportunity to dance all of the roles, including the leads, which helps a lot in learning how to dance on stage in front of an audience.
How has ballet changed your life?
Dance has helped me mature a lot faster and made me think about my future. I’ve been working on it my whole life. I hate it when people say that if you concentrate on something as much as I concentrate on ballet that it takes your childhood away. If it’s really what you want to be doing that is your childhood. I haven’t missed out, because I’ve been doing what I want to be doing.
In school, teachers ask what I want to do as a career, and I always say a ballet dancer. They tell me that I don’t have a backup plan. I know it’s hard to professional dancer, but that’s what I want to do.
What’s your next BIG goal?
SAB was a really big dream, so I’m not sure yet. I feel like I need to figure it out. I really like having a goal to look forward to, because that helps me improve and move on each day.
I’ll let you know…
Thanks, Isabelle, for showing all of us that “…No Dream is Too BIG!”