The Patel Conservatory is proud to welcome new assistant principal for the Patel Conservatory Youth Ballet, Laurie Jones.
Jones fell in love with classical ballet as a child.
“I started dancing when I was seven,” said Jones. “I just loved it. It sounds corny, but it was just so beautiful...What can I say? I got the bug.”
As a youth, she trained at the prestigious Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (CPYB), with Marcia Dale Weary. Her family moved to Little Rock, Ark., for a period, but at age 14, her family moved back to Carlisle. She continued her training again at CPYB, where she performed principal roles that included the Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty and Balanchine's Concerto Barocco.
“A very special moment for me was my last year at CPYB, when I played the principal in the Concerto Barocco,” said Jones, “The ballet is a masterpiece, it really is...I never expected to get the lead in that ballet. It was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.”
Jones went on to train at the School of American Ballet with Alexandra Danilova, Suki Shorer, Stanley Williams, Antonia Tumkovski, Kay Mazzo, Susan Pilarre and Andrei Kramarevsky. At 21, she was ready to leave New York City and returned to CPYB to start her teaching career.
She has subsequently taught for the Ballet Mississippi (with Fernando Bujones), Allegheny Ballet Company, Ballet Arkansas and Orlando Ballet School.
She’s thrilled to be joining the dance faculty at the Patel Conservatory.
“The tremendous growth of this program, and what they’ve done here, it’s just amazing,” said Jones, who is also enamored with our connection to the Straz Center.
“Being a part of the Straz Center is wonderful. I mean, we’re doingThe Nutcracker in Morsani Hall. This is amazing!” she said.
There is definitely something to be said for being part of the largest performing arts center in the Southeast.
“I get to go to staff meetings at the Jaeb, it's really cool!” Last year, Jones drove from Orlando to see Davids Parsons at the Straz Center and loved it. She’s excited for her students to have these opportunities to not only be exposed to the various styles of dance through performances at the Center, but also have opportunities to train with visiting artists throughout the year.
She is looking forward to sharing her passion for dance with her students.