Glenburn teen selected for national dance program

Posted Aug. 07, 2011, at 3:40 p.m.

GLENBURN, Maine — Erin Norris of Glenburn is among 34 students from 14 states that the Kennedy Center welcomed to the 19th annual Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell, the Kennedy Center’s exclusive three-week ballet training program under the tutelage of the legendary ballerina.

The dancers, age 14 to 18, were selected from auditions last winter and hail from across the United States and are participating in the program Aug. 1-20 in Washington, D.C.

As part of the program, students are taking two ballet technique classes with Farrell, six days a week. They also will participate in a number of cultural activities to enrich their experience in the nation’s capital, including visits to museums, historical landmarks and other special events.

In 1993 and 1994, the Kennedy Center offered two series of ballet master classes with Farrell, providing intermediate- to advanced-level ballet students in the D.C. area with the unique opportunity to study with one of the best-known ballerinas of the 20th century.

In response to the program’s success, the Kennedy Center expanded Exploring Ballet With Suzanne Farrell to a national program in 1995 as part of the center’s mission to enhance the arts education of America’s young people.

Farrell, one of Balanchine’s most celebrated muses, danced with the New York City Ballet from 1965 to1969 and from 1975 to 1989. Over the years, she originated 23 roles in Balanchine ballets and her repertory eventually reached some 110 ballets, a third of which were created especially for her. She has received numerous awards, including a 1985 Emmy, the 2003 National Medal of the Arts and a 2005 Kennedy Center Honors. The documentary “Suzanne Farrell: Elusive Muse” received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary and was aired on PBS. Her company, The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, is based at the Kennedy Center.

Erin Norris, who will be a junior this fall at Bangor High School, is a student at Thomas School of Dance, where she has taken extensive classical ballet training with Ivy Forrest, former principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet. She is one of five dance students who received a $200 scholarship from Thomas School of Dance this spring, and this is her second year with Farrell’s program.

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