Many people leave home for their dance education-- jet-setting to a summer intensive in New York or to college in Salt Lake City. New cities, new states, a chance to experience a different local climate. But have you ever wondered what it's like to leave the country and go halfway around the world to get your dance training?
That's the story of Liao Xiang, a summer intensive student at Houston Ballet Academy and member of Houston Ballet II. Xiang, a native of Wuhan, China, came to the United States to further her classical dance training. She had studied for seven years at the prestigious Beijing Dance Academy. At age sixteen, she competed in the Youth America Grand Prix and won a scholarship to Florida's Harid Conservatory, where she studied for four months before recieving a scholarship to Houston Ballet II.
Says Xiang, "The reason I auditioned here is because I heard it's a really good place for young dancer... They do both classical and contemporary things, I just wanted to give it a try." She set a goal of getting into Houston Ballet Academy while training at Harid; her teachers supported her and encouraged her to take the opportunity with HBII." She enjoys training here in the States, saying "China is more classical, more specific on your training and technique....if you don't have a nice body in extremely good shape, say bye to being a professional ballet dancer! America gives [dancers] more freedom, personality, passion, and imagination. "
Liao Xiang is bringing her own personality and passion to the stage this weekend at Houston Ballet Academy's 2009 Summer Intensive showcase, where she will be dancing the grand pas from La Bayadere with Nayon Iovino (pictured above). There is one more show tonight at 8pm in the Proscenium Theater at San Jacinto Community College-South (13735 Beamer). Come on out!