Ballet in College: A Discussion with Ballet Aligned teacher, Brianne Corbridge

Ballet Aligned is committed to helping dancers fulfill their potential in the wide world of ballet, but the specifics of what that will look like vary from dancer to dancer. Not all dancers aspire to perform with a professional ballet company. I began working with Brianne Corbridge (now a teacher with Ballet Aligned) when she was an early teen. She was a talented dancer, but also a gifted musician and dedicated academic student. Through her high school years, she studied ballet extensively with me and juggled the rest of these talents and interests. It was while I was coaching her in the role of Sugar Plum Fairy during her senior year that she learned of her acceptance into the ballet program at the University of Utah, one of the country’s oldest and best collegiate dance programs. Below she shares about her experience there (now nearly a full school year in), why she chose that route for her dancing, and gives advice to other dancers who may wish to consider ballet training in college.

Ballet Aligned: Why did you choose to study ballet at the University of Utah?

Brianne: I knew I wanted to study dance in college. I was excited to have a thorough dance education that included not only dance technique and performing, but also choreography, teaching, screendance, conditioning, and more. I love U of U’s curriculum and I love being close to home.

BA: What has been the best part of the program so far?

Brianne: So far, the best part of the program has been learning from amazing faculty. I am impressed by every faculty person I’ve met. They foster a sense of security, well-being, and excellence in the School of Dance. Last semester and this semester I’ve had the same teachers for at least six weeks at a time. They got to know me and my dancing, and individually corrected me. I have also loved being in an environment with highly talented people. I learn a lot from my classmates and we have a lot of fun together.

BA: What has been the hardest part of the program so far?

Brianne: The hardest part of the program has been navigating dance education in a pandemic. A few weeks each semester I’ve had to do my classes online. It’s difficult to maintain the momentum of progress when my environment changes. Not only that but the stress of getting sick and the uncertainty about the future are stressful and sometimes discouraging.

BA: Where do you think you have grown the most as a dancer?

Brianne: I think I’ve become a more mature dancer. I’m focused in class, I pick up combinations faster, and I am able to maintain positive self-talk and observe my own dancing without judgment. 

BA: What would you tell other dancers who are considering dancing in college?

Brianne: I would tell other dancers to do the summer intensive of the college that they’re interested in if they can! I learned a lot about the curriculum and the general environment of the U’s School of Dance when I attended UBSI. I went to the summer programs of a couple of other schools that interested me and my summer experiences helped me make the decision to go to the U. Also, studying dance in college will give dancers the opportunity to take risks. 

Brianne is excited to share her expertise as one of Ballet Aligned’s primary instructors this summer. We are lucky to have her!

By Steffanie Casperson, director of Ballet Aligned