Talia Lebowitz started ballet at age 5. She remembers always wanting to take ballet classes. Once she started, she instantly loved everything about it.
“I love how ballet is very structured but there’s freedom in the movements,” Talia says.
Talia grew up in Agoura Hills, Calif., not far from Malibu. She had attended ballet summer intensive programs at American Ballet Theatre (ABT), Ellison Ballet, and Joffrey Ballet School—all in NY. But UMKC Conservatory professor and Kansas City Ballet School (KCBS) faculty member, David Justin, came to her home studio at California Dance Theatre to teach a master class. He said the class could double as an audition for the Summer Intensive program at KCBS. She signed up and later received an acceptance letter that extended her a full scholarship.
COMING TO KC
That opportunity brought her to Kansas City Ballet School’s summer intensive program for the first time. While she was here, she enjoyed the teachers, the building, the studios, and the ballet technique so much. When she was invited to join the KCBS Daytime Program in the fall of 2018, she jeté-ed at the chance.
At just 16, she had just completed her homeschooling program along with her older brother. So last fall, her parents packed up both of their children for their new adventures. Her brother enrolled in the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Talia headed to KC. She now lives on her own with four other girls who are students at KCBS.
“I’d had a taste of being on my own at previous summer intensives in New York, so I wasn’t scared,” she says.
After joining the Daytime Program, Talia auditioned for The Nutcracker. She was cast in three roles: an angel, traditionally danced by advanced students, and also a member of the corps for the snow scene and “Waltz of the Flowers”. The latter two were roles usually danced by members of the professional company. She danced these roles over the course of 25 shows—sometimes performing all three in a single performance.
“It was amazing! I was really nervous, but it was such a good experience,” Talia says. “Getting to dance with the company was so cool… a dream come true.”
YOUTH AMERICA GRAND PRIX
In February 2019, Talia competed in Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) Semi-final competitions that took place at The Folly Theater here in KC. Out of more than 100 entries, she received 2nd place in the Senior Classical competition. She performed two works: Grand Pas Classique and Raymonda Variations. Quite a feat!
KANSAS CITY YOUTH BALLET
She is also a member of KCB School’s performance ensemble Kansas City Youth Ballet (KCYB). Talia will perform the Spartacus Pas de Deux as part of their April 4-6 program at the Bolender Center. She will also dance a variation during Esmeralda, which is title work.
Talia feels she’s definitely gotten stronger since she started dancing at Kansas City Ballet School. Her dream is to be a professional dancer in a ballet company someday. She’s already accepted a spot as a Trainee here in KC for the 2019-2020 season.