30 Apr IB Spotlight: Bixler Rises through the Ranks
The launch of Indianapolis Ballet across the last year has provided the opportunity to create a lasting legacy in our community for this timeless art form we all cherish. A pivotal part of that legacy is establishing an environment and structure where dancers can aspire to grow through ballet and become a professional right here in Indianapolis.
Current Apprentice program dancer Abigail Bixler is already taking advantage of this incredible opportunity. When we asked Abigail to write a few words detailing her experience growing as a student at the Indianapolis School of Ballet and rising into the ranks of the new professional company, much like on stage, her passion shined through …
I was first introduced to the stunning art form of ballet when I was four years old, and my mom bought us both tickets to see The Nutcracker. Immediately, I was entranced by the grace and poise that each person on that stage possessed. When it was over, I begged to come back and see it again the next day. From that moment on, I wanted to become a professional ballerina, and I dreamed of the day that I, too, would dance on pointe.
My mom signed me up for classes as soon as she was able, and we watched as many ballets as we could. Ballet became my dream career, and I knew with all of my heart that it was what I wanted to pursue. I have now been dancing for almost 14 years, and this is my seventh year of dancing in the studios of the Indianapolis School of Ballet, now also home to Indianapolis Ballet. When I first joined the school as a student, I knew in my heart it was the right decision. It was almost like it was love at first plié. I immediately bonded with friends who loved ballet just as much as me, and took classes from the wonderful staff of ISB, who shared their years of experience and insight into what it was like to live the life of a professional dancer.
Each class was a valuable lesson, and I wanted to absorb as much information as I could. The impeccable training from the school provided unbelievable opportunities for me that I never would have expected to receive at that age. My dream of dancing as a swan came true at the age of 15, by 16 I had danced in more Balanchine ballets than I ever thought possible, and dancing with ISB also allowed me to take master classes with legendary dancers, including the extraordinary Violette Verdy. These one-of-a-kind experiences and the training I received from dancing with ISB are unparalleled in their prestige, and in the bonds created by all those involved.
In the fall of 2017, the Professional Level Program was created, and I was invited to join the program to further my dance education. I also knew that it was the next step to fulfilling my goal of becoming a professional dancer.
I had the opportunity to take class in the mornings with the present company members, which was significant because I had role models that I could observe and dance with in person daily – they were no longer just performing far away on a stage or in videos. Performance rehearsals were valuable because they helped me refine and enhance each role to the best of my ability. I was able to get a taste of company life, and still allowed to take classes with ISB students during evening classes in order to improve upon my technique. I am still a senior in high school, so the Professional Level was great in that it allowed breaks for me to complete my schoolwork during the day.
After the fall semester, I was asked to join the Indianapolis Ballet professional company as an apprentice upon its launch in January 2018, and it was one of the happiest moments in my life. When I was little, I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to be able to come to dance class two times a week. Now, I get to come and dance all day every day, which is hard work and often times a challenge, but also a dream come true!
Being a part of a professional ballet company is incredible, and it is all the more special since it is the Indianapolis Ballet. It is a company that I can trust whole heartedly, because there are fellow dancers who are outstanding in their commitment and motivation for ballet, and an office staff that works tirelessly each day to ensure the longevity of the company. Our founding artistic director, Victoria Lyras, planted the very first seed by opening a pre-professional school of ballet in Indianapolis that would eventually feed into a company. It is her consistent dedication and passion for this organization and art form of ballet that has motivated and inspired so many over the years, including me. Victoria has created a beautiful community of people who are all as equally dedicated to preserving the living art of ballet, and I am beyond grateful for the opportunities that have been created because of this.
Today, I no longer only have a simple dream of dancing on pointe for myself, but I now also aspire to bring joy to the audience through ballet. I feel encouraged to inspire those around me, including the children in the audience who dance up and down the aisles after the performance is over, just like I did after I first saw The Nutcracker. In fact, I have been granted the chance to teach the young students of ISB this year, and it has been one of the most rewarding experiences. It is truly wonderful that I am able to share my love for ballet with young students who have the same dream as I do.
This is why the Indianapolis School of Ballet and the Indianapolis Ballet are vital to this community. The school provides a safe and welcoming environment for young students to become educated about ballet and dance at a professional level, and now it leads into the company. This allows the dream of dance to become a reality, not only for me, but many others as well.
There is heart and soul within Indianapolis Ballet and the Indianapolis School of Ballet, which feels like a home and a family.
– Abigail Bixler
Abigail is living out her dream – and we cannot wait for many more ISB students to follow in her footsteps.
If you would like to assist Indianapolis Ballet’s efforts in bolstering world-class ballet in the Circle City, visit our Support page – which includes details on how you can contribute to the Indianapolis School of Ballet Education Fund and the ongoing Indianapolis Ballet Moving Forward Capital Campaign.
If you would like to see Abigail and the rest of our incredible talent on stage one final time during Indianapolis Ballet’s 2018 debut season, click here to secure your seats for the May 18-20 residency at The Toby at Newfields, featuring A Midsummer Night’s Dream.