Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Today I’m going to stray away from the professional side of BalletMet and instead delve into the Academy; aka FUTURE BALLERINAS OF THE WORLD!

The Academy was founded in 1980 by BalletMet’s first artistic director, Wayne Soulant, the Academy has become one of the country’s top five dance centers of its kind. Today I was able to speak with Academy Director Susan Brooker and Academy Coordinator Pat Short.

Pat joined BalletMet as a volunteer in 1984 and began working here full time in 1988—and she’s been here ever since! Her main task is dealing with student’s billing and accounting records, however, she also speaks with new students and interested parents about what to do next once their child has begun dancing at BalletMet. Pat best described herself as the “go-between” parents and teachers.

And she would know best, being a BalletMet parent herself. Her daughter grew up dancing here and BalletMet has just become a part of Pat’s life. “If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t stay.

I was also able to chat with Academy Director Susan Brooker, and let me admit that when speaking with her, I was immediately reminded of how jealous I am that I do not have an accent. :-p Susan has been here for about a year and a half now and is very happy with BalletMet. She received her professional dance education in London, England where she was trained she received dance instruction training. At BalletMet, she develops the curriculum and works with the other teachers here to make sure that everyone is on the same page and aiming for the same results. She is in charge of the pedagogical and artistic programs here and works closely with Christine Rogers, Academy Managing Director who is in charge of everyday happenings. Susan says that BalletMet has a “wonderful faculty”; “very caring and artistically and technically strong.”

So what is it about BalletMet that keeps her here? “There is an essential integrity to all the artistic work produced here,” Susan explained. “There is also a sense that everyone is working toward a common goal. We try to offer the highest quality training and each student is considered to be an individual. We watch out for their individual progress and the choices that are made depend solely on their well-being. “

What more could you ask for? Susan also explained to me the different programs and opportunities available to students. In addition to BalletMet’s training programs, they also have summer programs where students from all over the country come to participate.

“The kids here are very lucky to have these opportunities. They really receive the whole dance experience," Susan explained, and I could not agree more.

In addition to the staff, I also spoke with two of BalletMet’s dedicated parents. First I spoke with Mrs. Bank whose mother is one of the founders of BalletMet, and for her, BalletMet is a part of her family’s history. Not only did she used to dance here, but now her children as well as her sister’s children do too. What Mrs. Bank loves about BalletMet is the quality of the education.

“It’s not just about the performance, but the actual learning. That’s what I like about BalletMet.”

Mr. Weekley agreed, whose daughter spends about four days a week at BalletMet. “She likes the challenge.” Mr. Weekly and his daughter are actually from Athens, Ohio, but come to Columbus four days a week just to be a part of BalletMet. That’s dedication. “The training here is more intense and it’s much more formal; that’s why we like it here.”

For more info on the Academy click here:


This is the last weekend to check out Nightmoves so don't miss it!

1 comment:

  1. Just a quick clarification, I am there 4 days a week, Eliza is there 5-6 days a week, she spends two nights a week with friends in Columbus.

    Don Weekley