Monday, February 18, 2013

NGB students accepted to Royal Ballet School

Kemper Cassada, left, with Hannah Stanford
Congratulations to three Next Generation Ballet (NGB) dancers who have been accepted to the Royal Ballet School (RBS)!

Kemper Cassada, Gabi Beach and Hannah Stanford have all received offers to train at the world-renowned ballet school in London.

Cassada and Beach, both 15, have been accepted for this fall, and Stanford, 14, has already been accepted for the fall of 2014 when she’ll meet the minimum age requirement for acceptance.

“The school feeds into the Royal Ballet, one of the best companies in the world,” said Beach, who recently returned from attending two weeks of classes there. “The training is just really fantastic.”

All three NGB students received short term scholarships to the school at last year’s final Youth America Grand Prix competition in New York. Those scholarships allowed them to visit the school and participate in classes. They were each independently accepted into the RBS three-year program based on their performances during those visits.

“It wasn’t anything I was very intense,” said Cassada of his time in London.

Even though he trains five to six full days a week here at the Patel Conservatory, he said being at RBS was a different experience.

“It was more intimidating to be over there just because it’s the Royal Ballet, and you have all these great dancers, they’re absolutely incredible,” said Cassada.

Beach had a similar experience on her visit.

Gabi Beach, right, with sister Hannah.
“It was amazing. It really opens your eyes to how good people are and how much you can learn,” said Beach, whose older sister Hannah graduated from NGB to study at RBS in 2011 and was recently offered a position with the Hamburg Ballet.

The younger Beach sister said she didn’t even like to dance when she was little, but did it because her sister danced.

“I was always the kid running around. I never liked them saying, ‘you have to do it like this,’” said Gabi.

When she and her sister transferred to the Patel Conservatory in 2009, her attitude shifted.

“With all the good people here and the opportunities to dance in productions, it puts you in the state of mind that this is a professional job,” said Beach.

Cassada agrees that work ethic is a big part of his success. He’s pushed past his share of injuries, and all the ups and downs that a full-time dancer endures.

“You really have to want to do it. Some days you feel like, ‘I don’t want to work out today.’ You just have to push past it,” said Cassada. “Being able to dance at the RBS is a great honor. I just want to go there so I can further my training and get better.”

When Beach’s sister was accepted to RBS, it was a motivator for many of the students at the Conservatory.

“Her going to Royal really opened my eyes, and especially hers (she was super surprised), that we can get into the best schools...a lot of us have gotten scholarships to so many places, it shows how the Patel (Conservatory) really works to get us to the best schools and how our students are amazing and we can really make it.”

Come see Gabi Beach, Kemper Cassada and Hannah Stanford in Cinderella in May at the Straz Center. Gabi and Hannah will both play Cinderella in different performances and Kemper will play multiple roles.

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