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Faculty Feature: Isobel

Learn more about Teacher Isobel, an integral part of our #TBATeam and today's #FacultyFeature!

Isobel joined TBA in Sept 2019 and has been with us throughout the COVID period on zoom and with the transition from the old Thomson studio to our new Sin Ming home. Find out more about her favorite dance memories below!

How and when did you start dancing?

I started dancing when I was 5 years old at a very small dance studio in my hometown that was inside a church and there was only one teacher that taught all the classes. I danced at this studio for many years and did all different types of dance besides ballet like jazz and tap!

It wasn’t until I was about 8 (?) or so when my mom suggested that I try real ballet school with a professional company – New Jersey Ballet. I liked the newfound rigor of training there, so I decided to change to this ballet school permanently. When I was 10 or 11, I decided I wanted to pursue ballet more seriously, so I auditioned for NJSB’s intensive program – a pre-professional training program. In the intensive program, I had ballet classes and rehearsals for performances almost every day after school! However, I really really loved it and I trained with NJSB until I graduated high school at the age of 18.

Over the summers, from when I was around 11 or 12 onwards, I would audition and enroll into summer dance programs (ballet camps). These summer programs were something I looked forward to every single year. They were highly competitive and a vehicle for pre-professional dancers to enter into professional ballet companies. However, they were so much fun! I really enjoyed being away from home for 4-6 weeks over the summer, dancing ballet all day, and meeting new friends around the world. I really credit these programs to honing my ballet technique and love for dance.

What do you enjoy most about dance?

Ballet will always be my first love. When I am dancing, I only think about the way my body moves. It was always the best vehicle for me to express myself and detach from the rest of the world.

What made you decide to pursue a career in dance?

Part of the reason why I decided to change ballet schools initially and pursue dance in a more serious manner was when I saw a live performance. When I was around 10 years old, my mom took me to see American Ballet Theatre perform Giselle in NYC. It was a transcendent experience~ Before then, I can’t remember attending a professional ballet performance, so this a rite of passage!

What is your favorite ballet step and why?