We asked our talented students across all levels of The Washington School of Ballet to share some of the highlights from dancing at home over the past year. Their stories of growth, resilience, determination, and positivity are truly inspiring.

Below is just a sneak peek at their stories. Get ready for more inspiration in the weeks to come!

What has your experience with TWB been like with online learning? 


Annie Bacon, PTD


“TWSB is such a supportive community, where the students encourage and uplift each other and the teachers are energetic, constantly engaged, and push us all to be the best that we can be. This was incredibly inspiring in-person, but has also kept me motivated in the difficult transition and time working fully through Zoom classes. Ms. Reyes and Mr. Imaev have done an amazing job, continuing to push us to improve rather than regarding this time on Zoom as a pause.” – Annie Bacon, PTD


Vivienne Evans, Lower Division


“This time of remote learning has certainly been a challenge but Vivienne’s teacher, Ms. Aleks, has put so much effort into the instruction and regularly engages with all of the students via Zoom with a wonderful level of enthusiasm and attention to detail so that they feel connected, invested, and have continued to learn. It amazes me that the school has been able to begin pointe shoe training via Zoom as well!” – Sarah Evans, parent of Vivienne Evans, Lower Division.


What have been some highlights of online learning? 


“With the online class schedule and videos, I have been able to take classes and workshops with some teachers that I would never have been able to take class with because those classes did not fit into my schedule. This experience has been enriching because each teacher brings a personal approach with unique explanations and corrections, and each of these has helped me improve as a dancer.” – Simone Gittelson, Adult Division


Muriel Ventura, PTD


“I think, personally, the biggest highlight of online learning was the opportunity to be at home and to be with my family. I am from Argentina and I haven’t been at home for the past three years. I had the opportunity to closely share my experience with my family, and to share the process of becoming a professional dancer. This year, I had the opportunity to closely transmit to my family the passion I feel for dancing and how alive it makes me feel.” – Muriel Ventura, PTD

“Besides the time, flexibility, and comfort of one’s home, I found that I could focus more intensely and identify areas for improvement in my practice. Somehow, there seems to have been fewer distractions and more focus on my part. The routine was broken, and the need for greater effort was made clear. In addition, I had a chance to encounter different teachers who provided fantastic feedback during class. For this, I am forever grateful, especially at the age of 70!” – Veronica Boutte, Adult Division

“Something that’s been a personal highlight for me is that I’ve noticed I’m not comparing myself to others as much as I used to. And that’s a big reason why I personally feel like I’ve improved not just as a dancer, but also as a person too!” – Luke Umphlett, PTD


Is there anything you’ve learned or experienced in your training over the last year that you may not have learned or experienced in the studio?


“This past year, I learned to have a greater amount of patience with this new learning curve, which strengthened my resolve to become a stronger and better dancer and persevere with my dream.” – Elliott Evans, PTD


Elizabeth and Elyse Farrell, Pre-Ballet


“I think Elizabeth and Elyse learned more responsibility while training virtually. They are aware of their individual ballet day and time as well as their uniforms, hair, and getting their area tidy for the class. Not sure what the future holds during these times, but I am so happy that they are able to still dance and look forward to dancing each and every week.” – Ramona Ferrell, parent of Elizabeth and Elyse, Pre-Ballet Division


Bronwyn Johnston, Upper Division


“In training at home this year, I have been able to focus on strengthening certain basics of my technique. I have been able to pay greater attention to detail in my technique. I have found that my turnout has strengthened and my extensions have improved while being at home. I am glad that I have had an opportunity to focus very specifically on aspects of technique that had become a bit lost in my dancing.” – Bronwyn Johnston, Upper Division


How has your routine as a dancer changed during this time?


Ava Dempster, PTD


“Although I am dancing in my living room and it is very accessible, I still properly warm-up before class and continue my strengthening/conditioning. Not only is taking class important but what you do outside of class too. I think having a lot of down time has allowed me to explore other options to add to my routine such as yoga videos and weight training.” – Ava Dempster, PTD


Kailyn Everette, Upper Division


“I’ve had more time to practice and work on my technique since I’m always at home and it’s also helped me learn new skills that I need as a dancer such as sewing.” – Kailyn Everette, Upper Division

“Classes have now become the greatest factor in my physical and spiritual well-being especially as a person living alone. It also caused me to go back on a daily basis to my Ashtanga yoga practice that is so complementary to the art of dance.” – Veronica Boutte, Adult Division


Thank you to all the students who shared their stories with us, we look forward to sharing even more of them in the coming weeks.

Do you have a story to share? Please let us know in the comments below!