The Ballet Academy and Other news


Article originally printed in the Royal Academy of Dance’s Newsletter Magazine

Breegan began dancing with RAD teacher, Arlene Larson, in 1996 when she was 5 years old. She continued her training with Ms. Larson for eight years, taking RAD exams from Primary through Grade 4 and Elementary (now called Intermediate), until her family moved from Kalamazoo, Michigan to Naperville, Illinois. In Illinois, Breegan continued her dance studies with Ricardo and Regina Helmer Moyano in DanceWest Ballet’s Senior Company. After three years of DanceWest Ballet, Breegan was accepted, with scholarship, into the year-round dance program at Interlochen Arts Academy, where she finished her high school education.

After graduating from Interlochen, Breegan went on to study dance at State University of New York at Purchase College (SUNY Purchase), where she graduated with a BFA in performance from the Conservatory of Dance in the Spring of 2010.

Breegan is currently residing in New York City and is performing for NØA DANCE for choreographer Nelly van Brommel. Ms. van Bommel was recently featured in the January 2010 issue of Dance Magazine as one of the “Top 25 to Watch This Year.” Breegan will also be performing for Ms. van Brommel at Jacob’s Pillow on August 26, 2010.

Breegan is also a founding member of a collaborative interdisciplinary arts collective called “The Hoover Dam Collective.” Breegan writs the blog for HDC and so keeps up her writing skills as well as her dancing.

And, as if all this work in dance wasn’t enough, Breegan also manages a dance photography business. Check her work out on Facebook at “Breegan Kearney Dance Photography.”

It’s great to see Breegan using her dance training in so many ways!

Where are they now?

What can you do with your RAD Training? Ask Dusty Button!

October 27, 2008: The Ballet Academy is Featured in the Kalamazoo Gazette

Ballet Academy Student Headed to Belgium for International Ballet Competition

This spring and summer, Loy Norrix sophomore, Isabella Cowles, will be preparing for the Genée International Ballet Competition. This September, the Genée will be held in Antwerp, Belgium.

The Genée is one of the most prestigious ballet competitions in the world, attracting the finest young dancers from around the globe trained in the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) syllabus. Candidates receive a unique opportunity to work with renowned choreographers and teachers for five days before performing at the semi-finals, and then at the final, where they compete for a range of medals in the historic Flemish Opera House.

Eligibility for this competition is very stringent. Dancers must be between 15 and 19 years of age, maintain pre-professional status and have passed the RAD’s Advanced 2 examination (the highest syllabus level) with “Distinction” (highest score) or have been presented with the Solo Seal Award. Last year, 58 candidates from 14 different countries competed in the Genée.

The road to the Genée is full of hard work. Miss Cowles takes ballet classes five days a week with RAD instructor, Arlene Larson, who is the director and principal instructor of The Ballet Academy. Even with all of the time needed for ballet training, Miss Cowles maintains a 4.0 GPA and is first chair violin in the Loy Norrix Orchestra.

The Ballet Academy is a Royal Academy of Dance Certified school. Classes are available for students of all ages and abilities.

The Ballet Academy holds weekly classes in the studios at The Station, 169 Portage Street, Kalamazoo, MI.

The Royal Academy of Dance is the largest international classical ballet education organization in the world, spanning 79 countries. Over 185,000 students undertake the RAD examinations every year.

Local ballet dancer Isabella Cowles wins international dance award

By Linda S. Mah August 3, 2015 (click here for link to article)

KALAMAZOO, MI — Isabella Cowles, a senior at Loy Norrix High School, was presented with the Royal Academy of Dance's Solo Seal award at a gala event in Toronto, Canada, in June. 

The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) is a worldwide organization, centered in London. The Solo Seal exam is the pinnacle of the academy's examination system. Entry into this exam requires that candidates have earned Distinction on their Advanced Two examination—itself a very high level of achievement. Candidates perform a series of solo variations in front of a live audience and are evaluated by world-acclaimed professionals in the ballet genre. The exam emphasis is on solo-level technique that would be expected as a member of a professional dance company. Of the 230,000 dancers participating in RAD assessments worldwide each year, less than .03% are at the Solo Seal level and only one-quarter of those receive the designation.

Isabella takes classes five days a week at the Ballet Academy under Arlene Larson, a certified teacher with the RAD. Classes are held in the studios at The Station, 169 Portage St. In September 2014, Isabella was one of seven students who represented the United States in the RAD's Genée International Ballet Competition in Antwerp, Belgium. Currently, Isabella is studying in Chicago at the Joffrey Ballet International Summer Intensive.