Gabrielle Gardner - February 2016 Viewers' Choice
I am so excited to have been chosen as a Viewers' Choice Winner for February 2016 on! This is my first time to enter the contest, and I am very happy that so many people liked my video.

I have been studying dance for nine years and have been a student at the Columbia Conservatory of Dance in Columbia, South Carolina since I was five. For the last few years I have also been a member of the Columbia City Ballet's apprentice company, CCBII, which has given me the opportunity to rehearse, perform, and travel with a professional ballet company. In addition to ballet, I study jazz, lyrical, and contemporary styles of dance. I really like classical ballet the best. My primary instructors are Mariclare Miranda, William Starrett, and Kathryn (Katie) Smoak. I appreciate all that they do to help me develop my technique and artistic performance skills.

The contemporary ballet piece in my video was choreographed by Katie Smoak. I love her choreography because it is always so unique. I was able to perform this piece and a classical variation for the YAGP competition last year. In addition to placing in the top 12 in the pre-competitive division at YAGP, I have earned a number of competition titles at regional dance competitions such as KAR, Encore, and Platinum. I hope to compete at YAGP and other ballet competitions in the future. One thing I've learned from doing competitions is that even if you don't place or win for your solo at one competition, you can use the judges' comments to help you improve your solo at later competitions.

I can't wait to go to New York this summer to study with American Ballet Theatre (ABT). It is exciting that I will be training at the studio where Misty Copeland dances! She is definitely one of my inspirations. My ultimate dream is to become a professional ballet dancer with a major company. Again, thank you so much to everyone who watched and voted for my video. This award will help me get to ABT!