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Point of Success

Anne-Marie Kelley
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent
ALL |

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Determination, discipline and an unrelenting desire to dance have gained access for four local dancers to three of the nation’s elite ballet academies ” three for summer intensives and one for a Washington, D.C.-based year-round boarding school program.

The Glenwood Dance Academy students auditioned and were accepted into summer programs at the Kirov Academy, American Ballet Theater and the Pacific Northwest Ballet. In addition, 13-year-old Addie Tapp was accepted into the Kirov Academy’s year-round academic and dance program.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Tapp said. “I didn’t think I was that good.”



She was flattered by the offer to attend the boarding school, but she wants to spend one more year in Glenwood Springs training before leaving home.

For 18-year-old Brianne Jones, being accepted into the Kirov’s summer program is a sure sign that the many hours she has spent at the ballet barre have paid off.



“The Kirov is huge,” Jones said. “It’s the granddaddy of ballet ” very Russian style and very perfect. They won’t take you if you don’t have a good body, or good feet, or good anything.”

Thirteen-year-old Hannah Zon was also accepted into the Kirov’s summer program, which consists of dancing six days a week, 4-to-6 hours a day for almost three weeks. The prestigious program involves Zon living at the school by herself. She’s a little worried about being so far from home, but if you’re a dancer, it’s hard to say “no” to the kind of training credited with producing such ballet greats as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Anna Pavlova and Rudolph Nureyev.

“It’s a big deal,” Zon said. “When I got my acceptance letter, I woke up my brother because I screamed!”

The four dancers spent three weekends throughout January and February traveling from Denver to Salt Lake City and back to Denver to audition for programs. When they first told the Academy’s owner DeAnna Anderson which companies they were auditioning for, she wasn’t sure this would be their year.

“I thought, ‘OK, they’re going out for the big boys. You might be a little young, but it’ll be a good experience,'” said Anderson. “When they started getting the acceptance letters, I was ecstatic. It’s huge. I’m so very proud of them. This is what they’ve been working for.”

The same weekend the group traveled to Denver to audition for the Kirov, the girls tried out for Pacific Northwest Ballet’s program. Almost immediately, Tapp received congratulation letters from both companies. Despite being one of only 100 dancers invited to attend the Kirov’s summer intensive and year-round program, she decided this summer she will attend Pacific Northwest Ballet’s summer program.

“We are considered by most to be one of the top three ballet schools in the country, and we are very selective in choosing students for the summer course,” said Gary Tucker, media relations specialist for the company.

Pacific Northwest Ballet, which is based in Seattle, holds 42 auditions in 23 cities each summer to select students for its program. Each summer, between 1,500 and 1,600 dancers audition for 450 spots.

A few weeks later, Tapp was also accepted into American Ballet Theatre’s (ABT’s) program. While she turned down ABT’s offer, another dancer at the academy was thrilled when she received her acceptance letter to this New York City-based company.

“I have to say I am super excited,” said Nicole Zinn, who just turned 15. “It’s an honor to be accepted into their program. You hear a lot about ABT. … It’s one of the best programs.”

Anderson would have to agree with that since that’s the company she moved to New York to dance with in 1969 to start her professional ballet career.

“It’s kind of like she’s going to follow in my footsteps,” Anderson said.

Melissa Zinn, Nicole’s mother, was with her daughter when she received her acceptance e-mail. It means a lot to a mom who has worked her life around her daughter’s schedule for the last few years to get her to classes six days a week.

“Ever since she saw ‘The Nutcracker’ at age 5, she has said, ‘This is what I want to do,'” Zinn said. “To have her be accepted to one of the bigger companies is amazing for her and for us.”

Anderson compared the girls’ acceptance into these programs with someone being recruited by the Broncos. For the Glenwood Dance Academy, where all of these girls have received the majority of their training, she says this is a good sign.

“We all must be doing something correctly,” Anderson said. “The faculty here is outstanding. Once these girls have their feet in the door at these dance academies, they’ll always be looked at.”

This, she explained, is important for young ladies wanting to pursue careers in the highly competitive world of ballet.

Until they leave for their summer programs, the girls will continue to train six days a week at the dance academy. They will be working on their technique, as well as fundraising to come up with tuition for the summer intensive programs. While the prices vary, they all end up being somewhere around the $3,000 mark. Anderson is planning an adopt-a-dancer program to help defray costs. She’s hoping local businesses will understand what this opportunity means to these young dancers.

“For girls who want to go on to be professional dancers, this is a must,” Anderson said.


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