Beginning in fall 2015, as many as 15 Walnut Hill seniors will enter a yearlong fellowship with Ballet Austin. The Butler Fellowship Program is a partnership between the arts boarding school in Natick, Massachusetts, and the dance company in Texas. The students will reside in Austin, where they’ll have the chance to rehearse and perform with the main and apprentice companies and earn college credit.
“Many students don’t want to come to Walnut Hill because we don’t have a connection with a company,” says Michael Owen, director of the school’s dance division. “Now our students can go out and take that next step, from high-quality training to a real pre-professional life dancing from 9 to 6 every day, seeing if they’re cut out for it.”
Ballet Austin associate artistic director Michelle Martin traveled to Walnut Hill in October to teach a series of master classes, and plans are in the works for the boarding school’s students to take a trip to Austin over spring break, to take class and observe rehearsals.
Walnut Hill also recently announced a partnership with The Boston Conservatory, enabling select students to graduate from BoCo with a dance BFA in three years.
Photo by Liza Voll, courtesy of Walnut Hill