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Student Spotlight Recognizes IBA Achievement

One of the things of which IBA is most proud is the family-like atmosphere at our studio.  IBA is more than a place where dancers take class and receive corrections.  Of course, excellent ballet training remains our priority,  but the payoff is more than just high-quality technique and artistry; we are also able to attract and retain high-caliber students.  We are proud of our students both inside and outside the classroom.  Each month the IBA Career & College Guidance Director, with the direct input of the Executive Director, the Artistic Director/ Ballet Mistress, the Director of Artistic Operations, other faculty, and, sometimes, the students themselves, features one student in the Student Spotlight.  The student chosen gets recognized at the studio by having his or her photo put in a "place of honor" in the studio lobby.  Additionally, the student's head shot photo and biography are featured on the IBA website and the social media sites Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Finally, the Guidance Director conducts a one-on-one interview with the student, and that interview, along with a dance photo, is also featured on the web site and social media sites. 

Photo by Jerry Finley Photography

 

The Student Spotlight recognition has become a coveted honor over the last three years.  Students in the Pre-professional program, as well as in the Upper and Lower Divisions of the academy, have been featured, and one student was selected from the Adults with Special Needs Class.  How does IBA choose each student for the Student Spotlight?  It varies from month to month.  Starting in 2016-2017, each month has a "theme"; for example, the September theme was "One to Watch". In past years, there has been special recognition for students chosen by vote of the entire IBA faculty, as well as a pick by the students in the school.  In the first year, the honor was known as Student of the Month, and only members of the newly established IBA Guidance Program were eligible.  The second year, the name was changed to Student Spotlight, and all students at the academy  in Ballet I-V became eligible for consideration.  

The most important criteria for Student Spotlight is a good attitude and strong work ethic.  The lack of just one of these could temporarily eliminate a student from consideration.  Students who are selected are those who are positive and respectful.  They are team-players who work for the good of the academy and/or the International Ballet performing company.  They treat all students with kindness; they support their fellow dancers; they refrain from exhibiting a negatively competitive spirit.; they do not have an overly inflated ego; they put aside petty disagreements; and they welcome newcomers as their own. They keep commitments, put 100% effort into all endeavors large and small; and they do their part to maintain IBA's family-friendly environment. Talent is also considered, but  the students chosen are not always the top performers.  Being an achiever goes far beyond the stage.  Training at IBA requires HARD work, self-discipline, focus, and an exemplary attitude.  We recognize students who are good role models. While no student is perfect, and sometimes he or she exhibits negative behavior or slacks off  temporarily when under stress, the directors do notice when students are working to improve and learn from mistakes.  Students not recognized in one year may hope to be recognized in the future.  We are a family, and a family encourages, cares, forgives, and sticks together as a team.  While all  families struggle to maintain good relationships among their members, and they do  make mistakes, our own "family"  included, we value each of the members of our IBA family, and we are happy to recognize those who go the extra mile.  We think this is what makes IBA unique among many dance schools, in addition to our world-class training.

Photo by Jerry Finley Photography

 

Here are the students we have featured in the last three years.  We will be making an effort to archive their photos, biographies, and interviews before we implement a new website. Here we are taking a look back past honorees, and we'd thought you'd be interested in where some of them are now. and a little of what they have been doing this year. Although no student has been featured twice, this has not been the rule.  IBA has so many high achieving and talented students, that we were able to choose a different student each month for the past three years!  For May, 2017, the theme is "Encore Performer", and the IBA Directors will select one student from among those who have been featured before (and who are still training at the academy).  Check our web site and social media sites in the coming days to find out who that very special student is! 

Photos by Karl Trump Photography

 

Sophie Beadie  (September, 2014) is a trainee with Cincinnati Ballet.  She danced as Clara in the company's Nutcracker on opening night at the Kennedy Center is Washington, DC.   

 

Hannah Trump (October, 2014) is a pre-ballet instructor at IBA and a student at Greenville Technical College.

 

Lydia Sanders (November, 2014) is a dance major at the University of South Carolina.  She recently danced the principal role in USC Dance's production of The Firebird

 

Athea Finley (December, 2014--"Student Peer Selected") is an International Ballet Senior Company Member. She recently performed in Waltz from Coppélia, as Arabian in International Ballet's The Nutcracker, in "Fiancees" in Swan Lake, Act 3, and in Markitenka

 

Bernadette Pennell (January, 2015--"IBA Faculty Selected") is an International Ballet Senior Company Member who has recently danced several soloist roles with the company, including "Dying Swan", Spanish in the Nutcracker, and as Russian in Swan Lake, Act 3. She also performed in Juliana Jordan's El Condor Pasa with DRUM Percussion Studio and in Jordan's Biography.

 

Faith Bloomstran (February, 2015) now lives with her family in Atlanta, GA.  She recently placed first in the Junior Classical Division at the Youth America Grand Prix Regional Semi-finals in Atlanta and went on to compete in the YAGP Finals in NYC. She represented International City School of Ballet. 

 

Logan Acker (March, 2015) is an International Ballet Senior Company Member who has recently danced several soloist roles with the company, including in Nayada and the Fisherman, as Columbine, Snow Soloist, and Mirliton in the Nutcracker, Spanish in Swan Lake, Act 3, and in Markitenka. She also appeared in Alexander Tressor's Central Park and is a 2016-2017 recipient of the Cassandra Gary Memorial Scholarship. 

 

Lydia Acker (April, 2015) is an International Ballet Senior Company Member who has recently danced several soloist roles with the company, including in Nayada and the Fisherman, as Columbine, Snow Soloist, and Mirliton in the Nutcracker, Spanish in Swan Lake, Act 3, and in Markitenka. She also appeared in Alexander Tressor's Central Park and is a 2016-2017 recipient of the Cassandra Gary Memorial Scholarship. 

 

Ellen Kilby (May, 2015--"Director's Choice") is an International Ballet Senior Company Member  who has appeared in Juliana Jordan's El Condor Pasa with DRUM Percussion Studio and also Jordan's Biography, as Spanish in the Nutcracker, in the Hungarian Dance in Swan Lake, Act 3, and  in Alexander Tressor's Central Park . She  will graduate from IBA and the Fine Arts Center in May and will attend Florida State University as a dance major in the Fall. 

 

Photos (with the exception of Sarah Bagwell's)  by Karl Trump Photography

 

Sophie Beth Nickles (September, 2015) is an International Ballet Senior Company Member and recently danced the role of Arabian in the Nutcracker.  She also performed in  Juliana Jordan's Biography,  and in Alexander Tressor's Spa de Quatre and Central Park

 

Francesca Romana Pennell (October, 2015) is an International Ballet Junior Company Member who recently performed in Waltz of the Flowers in the Nutcracker. She also danced in Waltz from Coppélia, in "Hungarian Dance" in Swan Lake, Act 3, and in Juliana Jordan's Biography

 

Maya Hyatt (November, 2015) is an International Ballet Senior Company Member who recently danced the roles of Chinese and Mirliton in the Nutcracker. She also performed in Nayada & the Fisherman  and in "Toy Soldiers" at the Fall Chamber Concert,, as a soloist in "Hungarian Dance" in Swan Lake, Act 3, in Markitenka, and in Alexander Tressor's Central Park

 

Gabrielle Brown (December, 2015) is an International Ballet Senior Company Member who recently danced as Spanish in the Nutcracker, in "Toy Soldiers" in the Fall Chamber Concert, and in "Fiancees" in Swan Lake, Act 3.  She also performed in Juliana Jordan's El Condor Pasa with DRUM Percussion Studio and in Jordan's Biography, as well as in Alexander Tressor's Central Park

 

Kaira Giffel (January, 2016- "Student Peer Selected") is an International Ballet Junior Company Member who is currently on leave due to injury.  Her most recent roles were in the Fall Chamber Concert in Juliana Jordan's El Condo Pasa with DRUM Percussion Studio  and Waltz from Coppélia. She also appeared as a Maid in the Nutcracker.

 

Gabriel Paluszak (February, 2016) is an International Ballet Senior Company Member who has recently performed several soloist roles with the company including the Fisherman in Nayada & the Fisherman; Russian, Chinese, Mouse King, and Fritz in the Nutcracker; Hungarian and Neapolitan in Swan Lake, Act 3,; and in Markitenka. He also performed in Alexander Tressor's Spa de Quatre and Central Park . 

 

Madalin Beam (March, 2016- "IBA Faculty Selected") is an International Ballet Junior Company Member who recently performed in Snow and Waltz in the Nutcracker, in Waltz from Coppélia, in the "Hungarian Dance" in Swan Lake, Act 3, and in Juliana Jordan's Biography . 

 

Rachel Mack (April , 2016) is an International Ballet Senior Company Member who recently danced the roles of Drummer Girl, Snow Soloist, and Arabian in the Nutcracker; in "Toy Soldiers" and Nayada & the Fisherman, in the Fall Chamber Concert; and in "Fiancees" in Swan Lake, Act 3.  She also placed in the Top 24 in the Senior Classical Division at the Youth America Grand Prix Regional Semi-finals in Atlanta this year. 

 

Sarah Bagwell (May, 2016- "Director's Choice")  is a student  in the Upper Division of International Ballet Academy and plans to attend the South Carolina Summer Dance Conservatory this summer. She recently performed as a Big Mouse in the Nutcracker

 

Photos of Sophie Brown and Anna Ohi by Jerry Finley Photography

Photos of California Clark, Gabrielle Wimberly, and Julian Finley by Karl Trump Photography

 

Sophia Brown (September, 2016- "One to Watch") is a student in the Upper Division of International Ballet Academy. She danced as a Party Girl and Cupid in International Ballet's the Nutcracker, and she performs with the IBA Studio Performance Group. 

 

Kayleigh Ernest (October, 2016--"Lower Division") is a student in the Lower Division of International Ballet Academy and recently danced as a Baby Mouse in the Nutcracker.   

 

Lamont E. (November, 2016- "Adults  with Special Needs" ) is a student of the International Ballet Academy's Adults with Special Needs Class and appeared as the Butler in the Nutcracker. He also performed with International Ballet company members at Thrive Upstate's Plant-a -Dream fundraiser.

 

Anna Ohi (December, 2016- "Student Peer Selected") is a student in the Upper Division at International Ballet Academy.  She danced the role of Clara in the Nutcracker School Show and appeared as a "Japanese Ballet Student" in International Ballet's Passport to Dance fundraiser performance. 

 

California Clark (January, 2017-"Super Scholar") is an International Ballet Senior Company Member, who danced in Snow and Waltz in the Nutcracker;  in "Toy Soldiers" and Waltz from Coppélia at the Fall Chamber Concert; and in the "Hungarian Dance" in Swan Lake, Act 3; and she performed in Juliana Jordan's Biography and in Alexander Tressor's Central Park. She  will graduate this year and attend Wesleyan University on a full academic scholarship. 

 

Gabrielle Wimberly (February, 2017-"Upper Division") is an International Ballet Senior Company Member who has performed  soloist roles including Kitri from Don Quixote, Chinese and Mirliton in the Nutcracker and Hungarian in Swan Lake, Act 3, . She also danced in Alexander Tressor's Spa de Quatre. She will graduate this year and will attend the University of South Carolina. 

 

Grace Sargent (March