Alumni Spotlights

Featured Alumni Spotlight: Christina Vargas

Bowie, Maryland

1) Where are you now and what are you doing?

I am currently in Chicago as an apprentice with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago II.

2) How would you describe your overall experience at the LINES Ballet Training Program in just one sentence?

Overall, the most nurtured, humbled, challenged, and changed I've ever been my whole life.

3) What is one lesson that stands out to you most or that you have already applied in your post-Training Program life?

It’s really hard to pick just one thing but learning to accept and respect myself as a whole person was huge. I don't care how strong you think you are, this program will find your soft spots and use them to break you down then build you back up into a much stronger version. It’s not an easy process. It forced me to experience all the different sides of myself and the only way I could get through it was to accept them and find the value and beauty in each one.

4) What was your most unexpected yet impressionable experience while attending the Training Program?

Well there were a lot of surprises but a big one was realizing that in some cases, dedication and discipline can actually hinder your growth. During my first year I had no life outside the studio. I just woke up at 7, got to the studio at 8, danced until 5:30, then went home to get ready for the next day. I felt like anything I did outside the studio that wasn't "dance related" didn't have much value. I couldn't have been more wrong. During a workshop in my second year, Nora Heiber read us a quote about how the duty of an artist is first to live a life, the art we produce on canvas (or in the studio) is secondary. Hearing that helped me connect the dots - since I was a dancer, everything I did was dance related. It was all relevant. Staying out late on a Tuesday night and running in 3 minutes before ballet class on Wednesday morning didn't mean I loved ballet any less. It was just a lesson on how to handle myself when things didn't go perfectly and what happened the night before just made my life experience archive richer. Thus, making me richer artistically. And you just get to enjoy life so much more that way :)

5) If you could give one piece of advice to incoming students or dancers who are considering attending the Training Program, what would it be?

Come no matter what. Out of sheer hesitation, I tried a semester in college as a dance major before I came to the training program. The transition was easy as pie because all my classmates and teachers welcomed me with open arms but I still wish I had come sooner. When you get here, be hungry and open. Like actually open. Don't try to kid yourself or save anything for later. Put all of you out there especially when it’s uncomfortable. Keep things in perspective. Be kind to yourself. Don't take criticism personally. Open yourself up to your classmates, they'll probably be the closes friends you ever make. Be prepared not to recognize yourself when you're done.

Photos: Alex Carrington

Other Alumni Spotlights

Dazaun Soleyn
"LINES Ballet Training Program was an experience that empowered me to take an honest look at myself in order to appreciate what I have to offer the world and to understand the amount of work that is required to be an artist/genuine human being."
Click here to read Dazaun’s spotlight.
Alexander Vargas
"I always remind myself that staying humble and genuine will take me further in life than trying to be better than others around me. Be happy with who I am and never stop learning."
Click here to read Alexander’s spotlight.
Katlin Bourgeois
"Keep your mind open to everything that is presented to you. Having an opinion is useful, but having judgments is counterproductive."
Click here to read Katlin’s spotlight.
Khala Brannigan
"LBTP bridged the gap between human and dancer, pushing me to develop my character and individual voice beyond the studio."
Click here to read Khala’s spotlight.
Emiko Flanagan
"I found it so interesting how things that teachers would say were applicable to my life outside of the studio. It was the first time in my training that I received information about dance that also made me examine myself as a human being."
Click here to read Emiko’s spotlight.
Alexandra Kamerling
"I left the program understanding that the landscape I lived in, the books I read, the conversations I heard, the buildings I passed on the street, all shaped and shifted who I was as a dancer, and later on as a choreographer."
Click here to read Alexandra’s spotlight.
Amelia Eisen
"[LBTP] introduced me to every part of myself and what I am capable of as a human being."
Click here to read Amelia’s spotlight.
Kelly Vittetoe
"No matter what your background, you will receive something powerfully changing. You must remain open to receive. Come every day as an empty sponge, ready to soak it all in again."
Click here to read Kelly's spotlight.
Nicholas Korkos "Be what you are, don't compare yourself to others. Know what you have to give and figure out the best way to get out all of the juice."
Click here to read Nicholas's spotlight.
Jordan Drew
"The most important lesson for me was to dance with complete confidence and freedom of movement."
Click here to read Jordan's spotlight.
Megan Wright
"Here is what I wish someone had said to me: Be humble. Be small. Be part of the city: get to know your neighbors, your bus driver, your barista, your local librarian. Help in a soup kitchen or a public school. Be affected by the poverty you’ll see every day on Seventh Street. Through that, realize that the mountain of work you face in the dance studio — the fight for self-determination and personal discovery — is common to every human."
Click here to read Megan's spotlight.
"Come with an open heart, an open mind and an overwhelming hunger for knowledge."
Click here to read Babatunji's spotlight.
Sally Cowdin "I will never forget repertory class with David Harvey. He taught us how to be still but say so much at the same time."
Click here to read Sally's spotlight.