From Student to Teacher: Courtney Henry Comes Full Circle

Courtney Henry | © RJ Muna

We’re very excited to welcome back former LINES Ballet company dancer, Courtney Henry, to our virtual studios to teach LINES Day workshops! Held throughout January and February, LINES Day workshops are offered as part of the 2021 Summer Program audition process to give prospective students a taste of LINES Ballet’s dynamic online dance curriculum. These workshops may also be enjoyed by any young artists who want to attend as a standalone immersive dance experience.

An alum of our Summer Program herself, we asked Courtney about the ways in which her experience as a student at LINES influenced her trajectory as an artist. Read on for her thoughts.


How did attending the LINES Ballet Summer Program impact your dance education?
Was talking to a friend recently about the foundation of dance training and how so much of it is about being told what to do and exactly how to do it. At least in ballet training anyway, there’s this idea that once you get to a certain ‘level’ then you are allowed to “be an artist” or practice choice in your dancing.

At LINES I had this profound realization that the ‘level’ I was seeking to accomplish first was in fact a moving target. And years later I see that it doesn’t exist at all.

This idea of waiting for permission. Waiting to be promoted to the next class level. Waiting for a personal invitation was not an option at LINES. There was only here and now and the demand to dance beyond your limits no matter your comfortability.

What life skills did you build during the program and how did they contribute to your growth?
Looking back I see that the insistence on individuality and choice in the training was preparing me for my own personal leadership.

Alonzo talks a lot about being a generous dancer. Mother-like, fat even. While these concepts were new to me at the time it helped me recognize that the best human qualities were no different than the best dance qualities. This made me see dance as more than just legs and feet and perfect bodies.

The obsession with freedom there also sparked an unquenchable thirst for me. It has left me forever seeking liberty in my art, my country, my life.

Courtney in the 2009 LINES Ballet Summer Program performance | © Rapt Productions

What memorable things do you recall learning in classes?
The concept of a ballet class with Alonzo in itself was a completely new experience for me. There was a reverence, almost sacredness to the barre. A supreme focus was required by him that I don’t think I had tapped into before.

While prior training and classes had always seemed for an end result. Ballet technique at LINES felt like a deep exploration of self.

Musicality and port de bras were also huge ideas that were exploited by every single teacher there. I had never been challenged in those ways before and it left me wanting more.

ATTEND THE 2021 SUMMER PROGRAM

Alonzo King LINES Ballet | Online Summer Programs are designed for aspiring artists ages 11-25, and offers a unified approach to training. Like our in-studio program, our Online Summer Programs are rooted in the philosophy of Alonzo King. All classes are taught by previous LINES company members and exceptional guest artists.