With auditions for 2023 Summer Programs underway, we’re looking back at the experiences of alumni Rhapsody Stiggers, Logan Byrd, and Tori Han who joined our Pre-Professional session in June 2022. Traveling from Texas, Minnesota, and Maryland, these three dancers spent a few weeks with us on the West Coast, exploring movement for hours a day in our studios at LINES Dance Center. Rhapsody, Logan, and Tori rehearsed with Choreographer and former LINES Ballet Company Artist Gregory Dawson and performed a new work together at the Cowell Theater | Fort Mason. Dive into the students’ thoughts and reflections—from what they learned in class with Alonzo King to their greatest takeaways—before we invite the next group of up-and-coming artists to train with us this summer.
Interested in attending our Summer Programs in 2023, or know someone who might be? Find more information about our auditions and application details on our Summer Program Audition page. Tomorrow, February 25, we’re hosting a Virtual One-Day Workshop for dance artists ages 11–25, followed by an Immersive Weekend Workshop for artists ages 17–25 from March 18–19. Both of these workshops can also serve as auditions for our Summer or Training Program.
Interviews by Karah Abiog, Erin McKay, and Jamie Lyons | Written by Erin McKay
These conversations were edited for length, clarity, and readability.
What brought you to LINES Ballet’s Summer Program?
Logan: One of the faculty, Miss Caroline, a former LINES Ballet Company dancer, actually brought me to dance here. We have a contemporary ballet class with her at my home studio, and the way she moved piqued my interest, so I read her bio. I actually felt really free in her class; it was my favorite one! So I thought, why not try LINES’ Summer Program? And when I was able to join and come here in-person, it was an even better experience than I expected.
Rhapsody: LINES has always been one of my dream companies. One of my former teachers, Laurel Keen, was actually a company member here, so that’s how I first discovered LINES. After working with her, I looked into LINES’ company rep and their education programs, and I fell in love with the type of movement that they did as well as their diversity. I really wanted to be a part of that.
What is new or different about the approach and the information that you’re receiving here at LINES this summer?
Tori: It’s still very classical training-wise, but they introduce an expansiveness and an extra movement quality that I didn’t know existed. Trying to find that additional expansion and passion in my movement was really new to me.
Rhapsody: It’s definitely a lot faster, and the teachers really, really push you. I feel like in my previous training I didn’t receive as much of a push as I had wanted to. Classes weren’t as fast and choreography wasn’t thrown at us as quickly as it is here. So, I really appreciate the level of rigor and speed that they expect us to perform at.
Has there been a class, teacher, or moment in particular that has inspired you or made you think about dance in a different way?
Rhapsody: In class with Alonzo, he shared the idea of embodiment and attacking the movements with a sense of freedom and fearlessness. I’m someone who’s always a bit more timid, especially with my dancing and speaking. So, the idea of being unafraid to just put my all into the movements was really helpful.
Tori: Alonzo talks about breaking through boundaries; it’s such a simple statement, but you do have to change your approach and how you look at things through your movement to be able to really find something new.
How has your experience in San Francisco been?
Logan: My experience in San Francisco has been really great! Attending ballet or GYROTONIC® at 9am, then having rehearsals, mentoring, or Critical Perspectives in Dance until 4:30/5pm has been really nice. I’ve also enjoyed having lunch with my friends and touring San Francisco after class since I’m coming all the way from the East Coast.
Tori: San Francisco’s been fun! I don’t live in a big city, so getting to look outside the window and see parades and such a lively environment is a lot of fun. It adds to the creative environment in the studios as well.
Why do you dance?
Rhapsody: I dance not only because it is the only thing I’ve ever known—I’ve done it since I was two years old—but I have a level of comfortability with it. I’m able to fully express myself in a way that I’m not able to do in words. Having this outlet of creativity is really helpful for me emotionally and socially.
Logan: I dance because I want more diversity to exist in this art form. I don’t see a lot of it at my studio or in other places that are more focused on classical ballet. For instance, when I went to other summer intensives, there wasn’t any diversity. I was always that one poster child; they claimed to have diversity but really it was just me or me and one other person of color.
So coming into LINES and having four or five students, and even teachers, that looked like me really opened my eyes to what success could look like. I believe in bringing minorities into the world of dance, because it’s very small, and I think inclusivity should always be embraced.
What lessons has dance taught you?
Tori: Dance has taught me a lot of lessons, even as a human being, like patience, humility, kindness, and love. You really can see the world through a new lens when you’re so in tune with your mind and your body. So I think moving makes me a better human as well as a better dancer.
If you could enact one change in the world, what would it be?
Rhapsody: If I could enact one change in the world it would probably be to get rid of homelessness. I see it so much in San Francisco, and it’s so hard to witness, especially in this area. There’s so much more that people can do to allow everybody to have housing for free. To be able to house everyone, especially in this country, would be amazing, because it’s definitely achievable.
Logan: If I could change something in the dance world, it would be to have more leaders of color—that means teachers, artistic directors, chairs, and board members.
What are your hopes and dreams?
Logan: I want to obtain a Bachelor’s in Science with a Dance Arts Administration Degree and a Master’s in Nonprofit Administration for the Fine Arts. I also want to become an artistic director of a major ballet company.
Tori: I want to be a professional dancer. I’d love to tour, be in a big company, and keep exploring movement.
What is your greatest takeaway from the Summer Program?
Logan: I’m walking away from LINES’ Summer Program as an individual who knows how to think on her feet, manipulate movement qualities, and become a more kind, humane person.
Tori: I’m walking away having expanded my movement knowledge. My greatest takeaway from this program is that dance is a never ending process. There is always more to research in the movement beyond just knowing the steps.
Rhapsody: My greatest takeaway is honestly not to be afraid—going into class without having any expectations, without criticizing myself in my movements, and without comparing myself to others. Instead, I want to really just put my all into every dance and any step that I do.
SUMMER PROGRAM AUDITIONS
Designed for aspiring artists ages 11–25, our Summer Programs offer a unified approach to training, rooted in Alonzo King’s philosophy that art lives within the artist. Each session guides dancers on a collaborative journey that values risk-taking, creative power, and independent thinking. We’re looking for the next generation of artists to train with our world-renowned faculty this summer in downtown San Francisco. Students can audition in-person, online, or by video.
BFA AND TRAINING PROGRAM AUDITIONS
Dancers interested in our Pre-Professional Summer Program may also be interested in our other education programs. We offer a 4-year academic track with our LINES Ballet BFA Program at Dominican University of California, as well as a 2-year robust, full-time program with LINES Ballet Training Program. We are currently hosting and accepting auditions/applications for both of these transformative tracks, as well as welcoming registrations for the Spring Season of Training Ground—our season based program parallel to the Training Program that is ideal for those who want a shorter time commitment and a more flexible schedule.
Photography (from top to bottom): LINES Ballet Summer Program | Dancers: Tori Han and other artists performing in Gregory Dawson’s “Untwisting Metal” | © Carol Lehrman; LINES Ballet Summer Program | Dancer: Rhapsody Stiggers performing in Gregory Dawson’s “Untwisting Metal” | © Doug Kaye; LINES Ballet Summer Program | Dancers: Logan Byrd and Troy Gardner performing in Gregory Dawson’s “Untwisting Metal” | © Doug Kaye; LINES Ballet Summer Program | Dancers: Tori Han and other students performing in Gregory Dawson’s “Untwisting Metal” | © Carol Lehrman; LINES Ballet Summer Program | Dancer: Aphiwe November | © Steve Disenhof; BFA at Dominican | Dancer: Ale Preciado | © Doug Kaye