May 2013 Judges’ Choice Winner – Courtlyn Hanson

I've been dancing at the Ballet Academy of Texas for 13 years now -- since I was 3. Lisa Slagle is the director of the school and our main ballet instructor. She's been teaching me since I was 3 and has taught me everything I know.  Jenny Johnston has been another one of my ballet instructors for the past 8 years. She is an incredibly talented choreographer and she is so much fun to work with.  Tammie Reinsch is the most amazing modern, jazz, and contemporary teacher that I have worked with for the past 10 years. They are all huge inspirations and I know I wouldn't be where I am today without them. I am currently taking ballet, tap, jazz, pointe, pas de deux, yoga, Pilates, and modern.

I absolutely love ballet.  I feel like it comes more natural to me than any other style of dance. I was recently offered a position with American Ballet Theatre's Studio Company at the YAGP Finals in New York City.  I actually applied for this scholarship because of the enormous expense associated with moving to NYC.  I will be moving there in the Fall and look forward to gaining more performance experience and touring with the Studio Company. 

I completed at the YAGP regionals in Dallas and placed 1st in the senior classical division with the same variation that I entered to win this scholarship. I also placed in the top 12 with my contemporary. At the YAGP Finals in NYC, I placed in the top 24 and received offers from American Ballet Theatre, Houston Ballet, and Washington Ballet.  The only other competition I have competed in is the American Ballet Competition, where I have placed in the top 3 every year. 

Whenever I'm having a bad day or I feel like giving up I always like to reassure myself that I'm doing the right thing and making the right decisions by reading some of my favorite bible verses. 

Thank you so much for this opportunity,


Courtlyn Hanson