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Isabel Robles Heads to Houston Ballet

Isabel Robles will spend school year with Houston Ballet.

— After spending six weeks in a summer intensive program with the Houston Ballet, Isabel Robles decided that wasn’t enough, now she will spend the school year in the company’s year-round program.

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Isabel Robles of Reston, a student at the Classical Ballet Theatre in Herndon, performs “The Spider Web.” Robles will spend the school year studying with the Houston Ballet Company.

Robles, who is a rising high school freshman and student at the Classical Ballet Theatre in Herndon, heard about the program in Houston from fellow student Camille Passante.

“She said it was a great experience, and the teachers were amazing, and she was right. It’s one of the best schools in the country, and I thought it would be a great chance to improve my technique and meet great teachers and dancers from around the world,” she said. “I really worked on my technique, and was able to work on some difference dances. And during lunch we were able to see the regular company perform, which was so inspiring, they’re all so great.”

BY THE END OF THE PROGRAM, she was selected to perform in the showcase with the regular company. She was two weeks into the six-week summer intensive program when she was asked to audition for the yearlong program. “I definitely wasn’t expecting it, but I was glad to get a chance to stay, because I really liked it down there,” she said. “We auditioned a week or two later, and found out the results in week five. They posted envelopes on a bulletin board, and you had to open them to find out if you got it. I was pretty confident, not that nervous, but when I picked my envelope, I was a little anxious.”

Robles, who would be a freshman at South Lakes High School, will stay in the dorms at the academy, and is currently waiting to get permission from Fairfax County Public Schools to take classes online.

“It will sort of be a reverse situation than my usual schedule, where I’m in school during the day and dancing after,” she said. “Now I’ll be dancing during the day and taking my classes at night. I know it will be extra work, but it’s something I’m ready for.”

From August to May, she’ll be dancing six days a week, Monday through Saturday. On their off days, they will be able to visit malls, the local pool and even the NASA Space Center.

She won’t be finished with Houston in May either, after the yearlong session, she’ll enter another summer intensive program with the company.

Eventually she hopes to be a part of Houston Ballet II, the Houston Ballet’s second company, and part of the academy. Robles said the company appeals to her because they tend to promote dancers from within, rather than bringing them in from other places.

According to the Houston Ballet, up to 90 percent of the Houston Ballet II dancers come from the academy and 40 percent of the company’s dancers come from the academy.

ROBLES STARTED DANCING when she was 6 with Classical Ballet Theatre, and it didn’t take her long to realize that it was something she wanted to pursue long-term.

“Early on I would watch the other dancers, and I knew I wanted to do whatever it takes to be like them, and it’s been a great experience. I learned very early on to become a serious dancer required a lot of hard work,” she said. “The teachers here have been so great, especially [Executive Director] Cynthia Donavin, [Artistic Director] Alisher Saburov and Meghan Rudorfer.”

Passante, Robles’s fellow student who introduced her to the Houston Ballet Company, was also offered a spot in the year-round program, but declined and will continue at CBT.