Mikayla Lambert grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania, so when she discovered her passion for ballet at the age of eight, it did not come as without an extra dose of committment and focus. In order to pursue ballet, her parent’s commited to driving Mikayla over an hour to a studio in NY for her training. By the time she was fifteen, her mother was driving her six times per week for ballet. It was at this age that she attended the School of American Ballet for a Summer Intensive.
The School of American Ballet (SAB) is the offical training academy of the New York City Ballet, which was established in 1934 by legendary chroeographer George Balanchine and philantrhopist Lincoln Kirstein as the first and most essential step in their quest to create an American classical ballet company.
SAB, located at New York City’s Lincoln Center, is today the premier ballet academy in the United States, training more students who go on to become professional dancers than any other school. SAB’s former students fill the ranks of the New York City Ballet and other leading U.S. and international ballet companies.
The School’s alumni roster is a “who’s who” of twentieth century American classical ballet, filled with names such as Suzanne Farrell, Arthur Mitchell, Maria Tallchief and Darci Kistler, as well as Broadway legends Chita Rivera and Hinton Battle.
Students who train year round first attend a five-week Summer Course at SAB. Acceptance into the Summer course is by audition only. Sab accepts only 200 ballet students from around the world. While their five-week Summer Course is designed to be an enriching, short-term training experience for all students who attend, it is also a very important component of the School’s mission to enroll and train promising young dancers for professional careers in ballet. As soon as the Summer Course classes commence, SAB’s faculty begin to closely assess summer students’ potential for year-round training at SAB. By the end of the five weeks, a very select few dancers are invited to stay and train with the school for their winter term.
In any given year, approximately 15 percent of summer students are invited to continue at SAB as Winter Term students.
Mikayla Lambert who is one of these select students. She was going into her 10th grade year. She is now a graduating senior and finishing up her third year at SAB.
And unlike many of my previous guests who are established in a job, a career or a company – Mikayla has many decisions to make over the next few months. Over the next few weeks some of the students may be asked to become an apprentice with NYCB, other students will audition or train with other companys and of course college is always a choice on the horizon for many dancers. In fact Mikayla was accepted to the prestigious Smith College – and has chosen to difer her decision for one year.
So – while many of my guests talk about the wisdom learned and the appreciation of the path they have chosen – with Mikayla we are experiencing her uncertainty as well as the excitement of truly having her life right in front of her.