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Dancer Biographies

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Lilla B - This is Lilla’s third year with Ballet Arts Ensemble, and she has studied with Ballet Arts School of Dance for twelve years. Lilla attended Grand Rapids Ballet summer programs in 2020, 2021, and 2022. She further enriched her dance experience by joining the Ballet Arts Summer Intensive in 2020, 2021, and 2023. In 2022, she expanded her horizons at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. This past summer, Lilla continued her dance exploration at the Cincinnati Ballet.

Lilla's commitment to dance has been recognized with the W. Dale and Geraldine Crooks Scholarship, which she has received consecutively from 2020 to 2023.

Outside of dance, Lilla plays the bass in her school orchestra. Her academic achievements are commendable, marked by High Honors in 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023. In addition, Lilla earned the Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center (KAMSC) Medallion Award in 2023 and secured 1st Place Outstanding Research Award at KAMSC in the same year.

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Alyssa B - Alyssa is currently in her fifth year with Ballet Arts Ensemble and has trained at Ballet Arts School of Dance for thirteen years. She continues to refine her skills through Ballet Arts Summer Intensives, which she has attended for the past five years.

Beyond dance, Alyssa excels in academics and athletics. She's a top varsity runner in Cross Country, earning varsity letters in 2020 and 2021. Her achievements extend to academics, including her induction into the National Honor Society and participation in advanced English and Math classes. She has already begun attending KVCC through the Early Middle College program.

Alyssa has performed in productions of Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, and five Nutcrackers, with a standout role as Clara in 2017. She also performed in the Moscow Ballet Nutcracker in 2016.

Alyssa's dance journey includes mastering three levels of the Cecchetti method. Outside of her pursuits, she enjoys quality time with loved ones, travel, the outdoors, and gardening.

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Greta B - Greta, currently in her first year with Ballet Arts Ensemble, is a dedicated dancer with a combined ten years of training at Sue McQuarrie's studio (three years) and Ballet Arts School of Dance (seven years). This past summer, Greta partook in the Intermediate II/Advance Ballet class under the guidance of Cora Miller during June and July. Additionally, Greta explored additional dance opportunities through drop-in classes at Ballet Arts School of Dance.

Outside the dance studio, Greta actively engages in a diverse array of activities. She showcases her athleticism through participation in track and field. Greta also embraces the arts, participating in the Home-school downhill ski club, piano for eight years, and taking painting/drawing classes at KAT co-op.

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Jillian B - Jillian, a first-year Ballet Arts Ensemble member, has pursued her passion for nine years at Ballet Arts, following three years at Traci Phelps Studio and one year at The Ballet Academy concurrently with TPS. This past summer, Jillian attended the Ballet Arts Summer Intensive as well as various ballet classes and workshops.

 

Beyond the studio, Jillian's interests extend to tennis, where she actively participates in school activities. Jillian's academic achievements include earning a place on the High Honor Roll during her 7th and 8th grade years.

 

Jillian has taken on various roles in past BAE productions, including Hansel and Gretel as Chimera, Nutcracker as Angel and Candy Courtier, and The 12 Dancing Princesses as a Servant.

 

Outside of dance and school, Jillian finds joy in baking, crafting, playing tennis, and spending quality time with friends and family.

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Ashlen C - Ashlen has studied dance for eleven years at Ballet Arts School of Dance, and this is her fifth year in Ballet Arts Ensemble. She has furthered her training at Ballet Arts summer camps and Intensives in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022, and 2023. Additionally, she has attended the Grand Rapids Summer Intensives in 2021 and 2022.

 

Ashlen's commitment to dance has been recognized with the W. Dale and Geraldine Crooks Scholarship, which she received for the Grand Rapids Summer Intensives in 2021 and 2022.

 

Beyond the dance floor, Ashlen is an active participant in school activities. She engages in Student Government, is a member of the National Honor Society, is on the School Honor Roll, and dedicates her time to volunteering.

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Elyana D - This is Elyana’s first year in Ballet Arts Ensemble, and she has nine years of training at Ballet Arts School of Dance as well as a year at Tye Chua. She also participated in the Grand Rapids Senior Ballet Intensive this past summer.

 

Elyana's pursuit of dance excellence has been supported by the W. Dale & Geraldine Crooks Scholarship, both in the summer of 2023 and during the Grand Rapids Junior Intensive in 2022.

 

Beyond dance, Elyana is an active student-athlete. She competes in cross country and track for the Kalamazoo Homeschool Cougar Sports team. As an eighth-grader, she qualified to run at the MITCA High School Cross Country race and earned All-State Honors at the High School Homeschool Cross Country State Meet.

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Claire D - A third-year Ballet Arts Ensemble member, Claire has eleven years of training at Ballet Arts School of Dance. Her summers have been marked by intensive training, as she participated in the Grand Rapids Ballet Senior Summer Intensive for three consecutive years from 2021 to 2023 as well as the Ballet Arts Summer Intensive from 2021 to 2023.

 

Claire's commitment to dance is evident in her consistent receipt of the W. Dale and Geraldine Crooks Scholarship in 2021, 2022, and 2023, recognizing her outstanding dedication and talent.

 

Outside of dance, Claire is a well-rounded student involved in various school activities. She is an active member of the Concert Band and Marching Band, where she showcases her skills in Color Guard. Her leadership qualities shine through her involvement in Student Council and the Student Leadership Team.

 

Academically, Claire has consistently earned a place on the Honor Roll in both 2022 and 2023. Her excellence has also been recognized with multiple "Most Outstanding" awards in 2023.

 

Claire has completed Grade III of Cecchetti and continues to explore her love for contemporary dance at Ballet Arts School of Dance.

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Anna G - Anna is currently in her third year with Ballet Arts Ensemble. She has honed her skills over seven years at Ballet Arts School of Dance and five years at YMCA. She has actively participated in summer dance programs, including four years at the Ballet Arts Intensive, two years at the Grand Rapids Ballet Junior Intensive, and two years at the Grand Rapids Ballet Senior Intensives.

 

Anna's dedication to dance has earned her the W. Dale and Geraldine Crooks scholarship for three years, with additional support from the KRESA EFA scholarship this year.

 

Beyond dance, Anna is part of the Kalamazoo Central girls’ golf team. Additionally, this year, she will be contributing to the school yearbook.

 

Anna would like to pursue a career in paper engineering at WMU after high school. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring new places and cherishing moments with her friends and family.

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Eva May H - A third-year Ballet Arts Ensemble member, Eva has six years of training at Traci Phelps Studio and seven years at Ballet Arts. Her commitment to dance extends to her participation in various summer programs, including Ballet Arts Intensives in 2021 and 2022, Grand Rapids Ballet Senior Intensives in 2022 and 2023, Grand Rapids Ballet Junior Intensive in 2019 and 2021, and Ballet Arts summer dance classes in 2023.

 

Eva has also been a part of Freshman and JV Volleyball, JV Tennis, Choir and Chamber Singers, and has earned membership in the National Honors Society as well as Student Council.

 

As she looks forward to her future, Eva intends to continue her education at a four-year university, though her specific career choice remains undecided.

 

Eva's passion for dance and performance has been a constant in her life since the age of three, and she continues to embrace the stage with enthusiasm. Her love for dance is complemented by her enthusiasm for music and singing.

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Kira K - Kira is in her third year as a Ballet Arts Ensemble member and has studied at Ballet Arts School of Dance for fourteen years. She has participated numerous times in summer programs both at Ballet Arts School of Dance Summer Intensive and at GRB Summer Ballet Intensive. Kira has also received dance scholarships through the W. Dale and Geraldine Crooks Scholarship multiple years.

 

Kira plays the flute and is a member of the Paw Paw P.R.I.D.E. marching and concert bands, as well as the Paw Paw Honors band, where she is the flute section leader. She has also received academic highest honors every semester from 2018 to 2023.

 

Kira has passed Cecchetti Grades I, II, III, and IV. Besides ballet, she takes tap and jazz classes at Ballet Arts School of Dance and has performed in BAE’s productions of Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, The Princess and the Pea, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and four Nutcracker performances. She enjoys reading, cross-stitching, and crocheting.

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Abigail M - This is Abbey’s first year in Ballet Arts Ensemble and has studied at Ballet Arts School of Dance for eleven years. This past summer, she participated in Ballet Arts Summer Intensives. Abbey has passed three levels of Cecchetti. She performed in Hansel and Gretel, The Princess and the Pea, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and three Nutcrackers, performing the role of Clara in 2019.

 

Abbey plays French horn in the West Michigan Homeschool Fine Arts Advanced Band and is a member of the Concert Choir. She studies art at Design Street Studio. Abbey also participates in a homeschool ski program and is a member of the St. Mary’s Youth Group. She enjoys spending time outdoors, playing with her dog, and hanging out with friends and family.

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Banning P - This is Banning’s second year with Ballet Arts Ensemble. She has received training at Ballet Arts School of Dance (four years), followed Tye Chua Dance (two years), and Magnify Dance Center (seven years). Her summer dance experiences have included participation in the Grand Rapids Ballet Summer Intensive program in 2022, where she dedicated two weeks to training and a final performance. In 2023, she extended her training to five weeks, culminating in another final performance.

 

Outside of dance, Banning has explored her creative talents. She spent three years playing the piano and has a keen interest in creative design.

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Maggie S - This is Maggie’s third year with Ballet Arts Ensemble. She has trained for five years at the Family Center for the Arts, one year at Excel, and five years at Ballet Arts. Maggie has participated in the Ballet Arts Summer Intensive in 2021 and 2022. This past summer, she also joined the Grand Rapids Summer Intensive.

 

Maggie's dedication to dance has earned her recognition in the form of the W. Dale and Geraldine Crooks Scholarship in 2023.

 

Beyond the world of dance, Maggie actively participates in school activities such as English ATYP, Middle School Golf League, National Junior Honor Society, WEB Leaders, and even embarked on a Costa Rica Study Abroad adventure.

 

Maggie's academic achievements shine through her Academic High Honors in 2022 and 2023, as well as the prestigious Blue and Gold Award in 2023.

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Rain S - Rain is a first-year Ballet Arts Ensemble member with eight years of training at Ballet Arts School of Dance, where she has developed her skills and artistry.

 

Rain also takes on important roles in her school and community. Currently, she serves as a WEB leader, helping sixth graders transition smoothly into middle school. She has plans to take a gap year after high school to engage in mission work with her church community, exemplifying her commitment to making a positive impact on the world. Following her gap year, she aspires to attend a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) to study dance and further her dance education.

 

Rain is also biliterate in Spanish, having studied the language since kindergarten and recently earning high school credit for her proficiency. She intends to use her language skills to become a global citizen. Rain has also held leadership positions in Confident S.O.L.E, a youth empowerment organization focused on building confidence and leadership skills in young women.

 

Additionally, Rain has dedicated time to martial arts, achieving a yellow belt in Combat Hapkido, a martial art emphasizing self-defense. Her faith plays a significant role in her life, and she actively participates in her church community, attending camps, retreats, and being part of the Student Leadership program.

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Isabelle T - Isabelle is currently in her third year with Ballet Arts Ensemble. She has trained for 11 years at Ballet Arts School of Dance, following two years at the Academy of Dance Arts. Her commitment to dance is further evident through her participation in various summer programs, which included attending Mrs. Norton's Tuesday Dance Camp and Summer Intensive at Ballet Arts in 2021, as well as the Summer Intensive at Ballet Arts, Grand Rapids, and the Cecchetti Summer School at Hope College in 2022. This past summer, she attended a two-week summer intensive at Carolina Ballet.

 

Isabelle's dedication to dance has been recognized with scholarships, including the Crooks Scholarship, an EFA scholarship, a Cecchetti scholarship, and the Kalamazoo Chinese Academy (KCA) Performing Arts scholarship in 2022. This year, she received another EFA scholarship.

 

Beyond dance, Isabelle has been an active member of her high school Marching Band/Color Guard and has played the flute since sixth grade. Currently, she is in her first year of Wind Ensemble at school and has attended the Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center (KAMSC) since ninth grade.

 

Isabelle's academic achievements are impressive, including Highest Honors at both middle school and high school. She has also earned the High Honors Award at KAMSC in 2023.

 

As for her future, Isabelle's career path is yet to be determined. Notably, she has achieved significant milestones in her dance journey, including passing Cecchetti Exam Grades I through V. Additionally, her musical talents shine through the EFA Scholarships for Violin Study, as well as a scholarship to attend Blue Lake Fine Arts camp for flute in the summer of 2019.

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Halie T - Halie has been in Ballet Arts Ensemble for five years, and has trained at Sue MacQuarrie Dance School (four-five years) as well as at Ballet Arts School of Dance (seven years). Her commitment to dance is evident through her participation in four consecutive years of Ballet Arts Intensives from 2018 to 2021. Halie attended the Grand Rapids Ballet Summer Intensive for two weeks, alongside classes and intensives at local ballet studios over the summer.

 

Halie's dedication to her craft has been recognized through the prestigious W. Dale and Geraldine Crooks Scholarship, which enabled her to attend the Grand Rapids Ballet Summer Intensive in 2022.

 

Beyond dance, has honed her violin skills since the age of five and has actively participated in various summer programs over the years, showcasing her passion for music.

 

As she looks to the future, Halie's aspirations lie in the medical field, where she plans to further her education after graduation.

 

Halie's dance journey includes a notable accomplishment, having completed five grades of Cecchetti, a testament to her dedication and commitment to the art of ballet.

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Lia T - Lia is a first-year member of Ballet Arts Ensemble. She has two years of training from both the YMCA of Greater Toledo (Fort Meigs) and the Toledo Ballet, as well as six years of training at Ballet Arts School of Dance. In 2023, Lia embarked on a Summer Dance Intensive at Ballet Arts, and she continued to expand her horizons at the Grand Rapids Ballet Summer Intensive in the same year.

 

Her passion and dedication have earned her recognition and support, including EFA Grants for tuition at the Ballet Arts School of Dance in 2022/2023, 2023/2024, and 2024/2025.

 

Beyond the dance floor, Lia is a well-rounded student, actively engaged in academic and extracurricular pursuits. She is a member of the National Junior Honors Society, and her academic achievements include graduating from the Academically Talented Youth Program (ATYP) for math and gaining acceptance into the Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center (KAMSC). Lia also played a vital role as a WEB leader, contributing to her school's sense of belonging and community.

 

Lia's dedication to her studies has been rewarded with the honor of being named Student of the Marking Period three times over the past three years, showcasing her commitment to excellence.

 

As she looks ahead, Lia remains open to diverse career paths but has a strong interest in dance therapy, dance pedagogy, or choreography, ensuring that her journey in the world of dance continues to inspire and create meaningful connections through movement.

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Claire T - Claire is in her third year as a member of Ballet Arts Ensemble, and has been taking classes at Ballet Arts School of Dance for eight years. Additionally, she has studied at Kalamazoo Chinese Academy Youth Junior Dance Group for four and a half years. She has received additional training through summer study at Adult/Teen Ballet Classes with Ballet Arts School of Dance, Ballet Arts Summer Dance Intensives, Grand Rapids Ballet Senior Intensives, and Cecchetti Council of America International Summer School in Holland.

 

Claire has received several scholarships to further her dance education, including the W. Dale and Geraldine Crooks Scholarship and Cecchetti Council of America Summer School Scholarship.

 

Outside of dance, Claire is Concertmaster in her high school orchestra, and last school year she received highest academic honors and was her freshman class speaker. She also received highest academic honors throughout all of middle school. Claire was also the winner of the 2023 Bravo Competition and the second place winner in the 2022 State of Michigan piano competition, and has also been a Junior Division Finalist performer at the 2019 and 2022 Spotlight on Youth Recital. She has been the recipient of the Irving S. Gilmore Student Arts Scholarships from 2018-2023.

 

Claire has participated in four Ballet Arts Ensemble Nutcracker productions and has completed three levels of Cecchetti.

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Mary W - Mary is in her fourth year as a Ballet Arts Ensemble member. She began her dance education at Excel Dance Studio, where she spent two years, and has trained at Ballet Arts School of Dance for ten years. Throughout her dance journey, Mary's commitment to her artistry has been unwavering. She actively participated in various summer programs, including the Ballet Arts Intensive from 2020 to 2023 and the Grand Rapids Intensive in 2022.

 

Her dedication to dance has not gone unnoticed, as Mary was awarded the W. Dale and Geraldine Crooks Scholarship in 2022 and received EFA grants in 2018-2019 and 2019-2020, enabling her to pursue her passion further.

 

Outside of dance class, Mary is a well-rounded student who values academic excellence, including making the Honor Roll in 2021-2022. She is a member of the National Honors Society, reflecting her commitment to both her studies and her community. As she looks ahead, she aspires to become a Physical Assistant for Ob-Gyn.

 

In her free time, Mary enjoys spending quality moments with her family, friends, and beloved dogs. She is also part of the Early Middle College program, where she will earn her associate's degree while still in high school.

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Hope Z - Hope, in her second year with Ballet Arts Ensemble, has studied for nine years with Ballet Arts School of Dance, as well as three years with West Michigan Dance Center and one year with Dancescapes (Johnson City, New York). Her summer continuing education programs have included Ballet Arts Summer Intensive, Wellspring, and Grand Rapids Senior Ballet Intensive. Hope has also earned dance scholarships from Education for the Arts KRESA and the W. Dale and Geraldine Crooks Scholarship.

Hope is also a Link Crew leader, is enrolled in AP and honors classes, and has received highest academic honors.

In her free time, Hope likes to hang out with friends, cook, and read.

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