Glenwood Springs dancer Addie Tapp taking strides toward ballet career

April E. Clark
Arts and Entertainment Contributor

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — From the Glenwood Dance Academy floors to the New York City Ballet stage, dancer Addie Tapp’s pointe shoes have been on the move in the last three years.

Tapp’s rise in the ballet world was sparked in 2010. At 14, she began studying at the prestigious classical ballet academy the School of American Ballet (SAB) in New York City.

A quick move to Manhattan with help from her dad, and Tapp knew she wasn’t in Colorado anymore. She said her best memories of moving to New York City to dance involve adapting to life in the residence hall.

“Just living in a dorm with all my friends, I’ll always remember that,“ she said.

She said the most surprising element of her life as an up-and-coming classical dancer has been living on her own in the city, and going to school and taking classes at SAB.

She has dedicated her life to the art form.

“Dance makes me feel fulfilled,” she said.

This year, Tapp has danced several steps closer to her dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer. She danced in the NYC Ballet’s “Sleeping Beauty” performance and performed in the company’s spring concert.

“It was awesome being onstage with the professional company members,” she said. “I didn’t have a solo. I was in the corps, which was also a great experience.”

Early influences

Tapp said she is motivated as an artist through dancing with her peers and watching the New York City Ballet company members perform. Some of her earliest influences include Glenwood Dance Academy teachers Dina Duckworth and Danielle Yost, as well as academy owner DeAnna Anderson.

Anderson, also artistic director of the academy’s Danse Arts Theatre, started instructing Tapp when she was 7. The pair reunited on the Glenwood Dance Academy floors last week for a dance intensive that hosted students and master teachers from Grand Junction, as well as California and New York.

Anderson said welcoming Tapp back to the valley brought back memories of her breakthrough student’s ballet beginnings.

“I’ll never forget the first moment I laid eyes on this adorable dreamy-eyed, knobby-kneed 7-year-old girl walking into my ballet class,” Anderson said. “So started her journey into the world of ballet. I had a meeting with her parents and told them they had a ballerina on their hands.”

Blood, sweat and tears

Anderson has heartfelt advice for Tapp as she takes on life as a ballerina in the Big Apple.

“Dance is hard,” Anderson said. “Natural ability and talent will only get you so far. A dancer must work hard and persevere.”

Like Tapp, Anderson had an early start as a dancer, studying at the American Ballet Theater in New York City at 17. She said countless dancers give years of their lives to pursue the art of classical dance.

“Plus their sweat, tears and sometimes blood, to have the honor and pleasure of performing on stage,” she added.

Anderson said Tapp has what makes dancers reach the professional level — natural talent and hard work.

“No dancer ever became successful riding on their natural-born talents alone,” she said. “By the time Addie was 10, she was taking at least six techniques classes a week.”

At 14, Tapp auditioned for and was admitted into the SAB. The achievement was a big step for her classical dance career, Anderson said.

“Auditions for this school are tough, and only a very few are accepted,” she said. “It’s like being picked for professional football. Dancers are artists and athletes. The world of dance today is akin to an extreme sport.”

If Tapp could give her younger ballerina peers advice in the competitive professional dance world, she would share what Anderson taught her as a child.

“Work hard,” Tapp said. “And don’t give up.”

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.