Highlands Latin School junior Charlotte Wright has been dancing since she was eight years old. Nine years later, she still fills her day with ballet, and in the summer of 2018, she had the opportunity to attend the prestigious Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts.
“It’s been a really awesome part of my life. I get to express myself through my art form,” Charlotte said. While Charlotte has taken some modern dance classes, she prefers ballet for its sense of structure. Her dedication to ballet has led to a rigorous schedule as she balances school and dance. After school, Charlotte has three to four hours of class at Louisville Academy of Dance (LAD) nearly every night of the week. Her Saturdays are almost entirely dedicated to ballet, with a dance class in the morning followed by rehearsals until 5 or 6 p.m. These long hours of rehearsal prepare her for several shows throughout the year. Each winter, LAD puts on a performance of The Nutcracker, which Charlotte has participated in every year, and the studio also hosts a spring showcase.
Charlotte’s family plays an important role in helping her to manage her demanding schedule. Two of Charlotte’s younger sisters also take ballet, and their parents have been very involved in the girls’ dance training. Charlotte appreciates her parents’ support and provision in driving her to practice, helping with fundraising for her studio, setting up the stage for performances, and assisting with costuming.
In the fall and winter of 2017, Charlotte began preparing for Governor’s School for the Arts (GSA). GSA is a three-week summer program that takes place in Danville, Kentucky, for rising juniors and seniors from across the state who are pursuing various art forms. Every year, more than 1,700 students audition for 256 spots in the program. For Charlotte, the application process involved creating a series of audition videos and providing references. Once she was accepted to the next round of the application process, Charlotte traveled to Danville for in-person auditions and interviews. Charlotte said the process was nerve-wracking, but that it was great experience for learning how to audition in a professional environment. Ultimately, Charlotte was accepted into the program and she attended GSA in the summer of 2018.
“It was probably one of the most life-changing experiences for me,” Charlotte said. The GSA dance program emphasizes ballet, modern, and composition and is taught by both GSA faculty and visiting dance professionals. Each day consisted of collegiate- and professional-level classes in the morning and afternoon followed by three-hour rehearsals in the evening. “It was a really good learning experience. You had to step outside your comfort zone in so many instances,” Charlotte said.
Homeschooled until seventh grade, Charlotte began attending HLS in eighth grade. She is a member of the House of George, attends optional Greek classes on Fridays, and is currently taking AP Latin. According to Charlotte, being a student at HLS has had an impact on her dancing career. “When it comes to dance you really have to work hard, and there are going to be moments when you want to stop dancing and you want to quit…but what I’ve learned from HLS is that you have to keep going. You’ve got to fight through the pain. You’ve got to learn as much as you can while you can.” When asked about her favorite part of attending HLS, Charlotte responded, “I like the atmosphere here. I think it’s very loving. You can tell a lot of people really care about their studies and they care about other people, and that’s a healthy environment to be around.”
Currently, Charlotte would like to dance in college and hopes to pursue a degree in Romance languages as well. Over the summer of 2019, Charlotte aspires to attend a four-week summer intensive at a dance conservatory.