Guest artists provide professional training to ETBA students

Published 3:54 pm Tuesday, June 5, 2018

As the days go by, it’s hard for Cindy Bernshausen to not crack a smile.

It all falls back on the work and the effort of her students. The director of the East Tennessee Ballet Academy has noticed a trend of support for the academy and this season hasn’t been any different with dancers participating in the annual summer intensive held at the ETBA facility heading into Historic Downtown Elizabethton.

With the two-week intensive currently underway, Bernshausen said that there are still spots available for next week’s classes. Each session will focus on ballet technique, pointe, variations, modern, contemporary and choreography styles. For the upcoming week, registration is $300 for non-ETBA students. Students enrolled in the academy receive a $50 discount. ETBA is encouraging students with two years of experience to enroll in the classes, which the program is geared toward intermediate and advanced-level dancers.

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And those that participate get their money’s worth with the level of talent helping the program, according to the director.

ETBA is hosting Brad Parquette and Sarah Walborn, professional dancers that have spent time honing their craft and passing on the knowledge to students. According to Bernshausen, the dancers teach their craft from the Marcia Del Weary syllabus from Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet — an internationally-recognized method of teaching the arts to up-and-coming dancers.

“Both follow that method of teaching,” said Bernshausen, who also teaches class at the Pennsylvania-based facility. “It pulls from different syllabuses from across the world to give students the best training available.”

Seeing the growth of the program has allowed the facility to start looking at expansion. Currently with two rooms, Bernshausen stated the facility will be able to grow after the academy was able to purchase the building beside their academy, which will house two additional performance spaces for students.

“It’s been great to see the interest in dancing all across the region,” she said. “There are so many different opportunities. We have students from Boone, Johnson City, Jonesborough, Elizabethton, Hampton … there’s been so much interest and we’re now looking at expanding the operation.”

ETBA also has a youth ballet academy, which is also under nonprofit status, allowing the public to make monetary donations to assist the efforts.

Moving forward, the academy is looking to offer additional summer classes and will also hold two school performances of the “Nutcracker” at Milligan College.

Grace Robert, former Elizabethton High School student and current ETSU cheerleader, will soon be offering tap-dancing classes while Appalachian Gymnastics and Tumbling will also be offered in the near future.

To attend the intensive, learn more about program or how to get involved with the program, call (423) 512-1722 or visit the East Tennessee Ballet Academy for more information.