Just imagine that the curtains open, spotlights shine and a stage is set, ready for what is yet to unfold. The crowd’s anticipation coupled with the ballet dancers’ precise concentration primes the night for a spectacular show.
The Frisco Ballet is an organization centered around the growth and maturity of dedicated dancers as they work their way up to expert levels. With a focus on the dancers to find their own personal identities on the stage throughout their time with the ballet, the result is always a can’t miss live performance. Over the years, those performances have included “The Nutcracker,” “Cinderella,” “Coppelia,” “A Holiday Extravaganza” and “Giselle.”
The Frisco Ballet has also produced a bevy of talented dancers who have performed in distinguished ballet schools and troupes throughout the country, including Ballet Chicago, the School of American Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre, just to name a few.
Regardless of the theme or title of the show, The Frisco Ballet trains dancers in various show leads to better prepare them for higher professional ballet companies. Directing these performances is Sheena Laramore, the ballet’s ringleader.
Dancing has always been an integral part of life for Ms. Laramore, since her love of dance started at the age of 2. Ms. Laramore says she knew from a young age she wanted to open her own dance company one day. Now, she is also the executive and artistic director of The Frisco Ballet. “The thought of being able to share my knowledge, experience and love for the art of dance was always something that I aspired to do and, over the years, I stayed focused and worked very hard to achieve that goal,” she explains.
Sheena’s Dance Academy is home to The Frisco Ballet, a nonprofit dance organization that strives to educate dancers while bringing the beauty and grace of classical ballet to Frisco and its surrounding communities. The Frisco Ballet was founded in 1999 when top community leaders who wanted to expand the arts in Frisco met and discussed their vision. Ms. Laramore was chosen to establish the ballet company and train its dancers to ensure their quality and technique would be “nothing but superior.”
Two years ago, Matthew Servant began helping Ms. Laramore lead the organization as a fellow member of The Frisco Ballet board of directors. He became involved after his two daughters started dancing with the ballet. His girls have been students at Sheena’s Dance Academy since they were in preschool. The academy offers instruction from ages 2-and-a-half through adult, in beginner, intermediate, advanced, pre-professional and professional levels. Many dancers in The Frisco Ballet study other styles of dance, as well. Students can train in classical ballet, pointe, jazz, hip-hop, tap, lyrical, drill team, modern, ballroom and musical theatre. With high accolades and esteemed distinctions, Sheena’s Dance Academy is a respected member of several dance and fine arts organizations. The academy was created more than 21 years ago and its students have been invited to perform internationally in Italy, Spain, Sweden and Russia. For 20-year-old Cheyenne Holcomb, dancing with The Frisco Ballet has helped her ballet technique immensely, and she says Ms. Laramore’s teaching style has also shaped her into the ballet instructor she is today.
Ms. Holcomb began dancing with the ballet 13 years ago, when she was just 7 years old. In 2004, she was taking ballet at a satellite studio in The Colony, where an instructor from Sheena’s Dance Academy was teaching. The teacher recommended Ms. Holcomb audition for The Frisco Ballet. After joining the ballet, she also began lyrical, jazz, contemporary and later, hip-hop classes. She became an instructor after high school and that is when she discovered her love for choreographing. “Ballet is special to me because of the incredible amount of work that must be put into it,” Ms. Holcomb says. “It is very challenging, which is why I love it.” On a daily basis, she applies what she learned at The Frisco Ballet to classes she teaches and passes on her ballet knowledge to her students.
In December, The Frisco Ballet will present their annual performance of “The Nutcracker” — a popular holiday tradition for many Frisco residents. Ms. Laramore says many people in the community look forward to it year after year. Tickets will go on sale in October and community members are advised to purchase tickets in advance since they usually sell out quickly. “The Nutcracker” is “a great way to welcome the holiday season with friends and family,” Ms. Laramore shares.
The exact show date will be posted on The Frisco Ballet website this month. Dancers interested in auditioning for the ballet should complete a summer audition. Dates are included on the website, and the audition is in classical ballet class form. Candidates participate in class so Ms. Laramore can determine where they are technically with their ballet training. Audition dates for each season occur in July.
Members are committed to the ballet through December 31 and are required to attend a minimum of two weekly ballet classes, along with mandatory rehearsals scheduled in preparation for upcoming appearances and performances.
Since The Frisco Ballet is a nonprofit organization, it holds fundraising events and offers individual and corporate sponsorships on their website. The ballet has partnerships with Frisco Fire Safety Town, Adopt A Street, Frisco Family Services, community parades, festivals and more.
As the influence and importance of the arts continues to grow, expand and gain more attention in Frisco, it will be exciting to watch The Frisco Ballet continue to awe and inspire audiences with talent. Ms. Laramore hopes to continue seeing her dancers succeed for years to come. “In addition to dance, it is truly a blessing to work with students and their families, be a positive role model and be an example to others that achieving your goals are possible. Nothing beats doing what you love.”
You can find more information about auditioning for The Frisco Ballet or about performances and the upcoming dance season at www.thefriscoballet.org.