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Local student studies ballet with the best

While many children spent their summers playing video games, hanging out with friends or taking family vacations, one local girl trained alongside 144 other students at the exclusive Kansas City Ballet Summer Intensive.

At 13 years old, Cosette Alsbrook has spent most of her life in the world of dancing. She's been working and training for so long she doesn't even remember how she really started. The teenager said she has been dancing since she was at least 3 but really started focusing on ballet about eight years ago. 

"Dancing was something I just always liked to do when I was younger," Alsbrook said.

Alsbrook has trained locally at the Storey & Barton School of Dance. It was her instructor there, Cheryl Hartung, who encouraged Alsbrook to take that next step and apply for the summer intensive. If she was accepted, she would spend five grueling weeks studying dance and ballet with some of the best in the country. She would have to first be selected  an accomplishment in itself.

"I had to audition for it and make a tape of my dancing to send to them," Alsbrook said. "We had to wait around a week and a half before we heard back after they received the tape. I was really nervous."

That nerve-wracking wait paid off when she received her acceptance letter in the spring. More than 800 dancers from across the country submitted applications and rehearsal tapes to be considered for the summer intensive. Each stretched, practiced and put their best pliÈ forward. But only 145 were accepted to the program. Alsbrook was one. 

"I was very, very happy," she said. "I was screaming and jumping up and down in the dining room. My teacher was especially happy for me, since she was the one who pushed me in that direction."

The five-week intensive began June 19 and continued through July 21. Each day, the students were roused and ready for class at 9 a.m. and continued training and studying until 5 p.m. Ballet classes were around 1 hours each morning. The student dancers focused on multiple facets of their dance. They used the bars and would do combinations across the floor. Each was coached on her form and technique. After a short rest, the dancers spent the afternoon working in different mixed classes that focused on other types of dancing. Alsbrook said the course was very intense, but she's glad to have endured it.

"They made us do a lot of work up there, but it was well worth it," she said. "I really feel I have better technique and more inspiration to dance. And confidence, I have much more confidence in myself now."

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