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Meet Anna Sessions of North Texas Conservatory in Lake Highlands

Today we’d like to introduce you to Anna Sessions.

Anna, before we jump into specific questions about your work, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’m originally from Fairfield, TX, a tiny town southeast of Dallas. Living in the city and starting a conservatory with a professional ballet company is a dream I’ve had since I can remember! Even at a very young age, I was naturally drawn to detail and the importance of professionalism. Through experience of owning a studio previously, I gained a wealth of knowledge that has immensely helped in shaping the business model and mindset for the conservatory now.

I learned early on in life the importance of hands-on experience, excellent training and exposure to truly be able to produce something of high quality and success. During my childhood and teen years, I was very fortunate to have phenomenal classical ballet training and voice instruction. Not without hard work, lots of convincing my parents and starting my own dance school at age fourteen to pay for my own training.

Not only was I drawn to classical ballet, but also business. I love using both sides of my brain and thoroughly enjoy the aspects of each. Through years of dancing professionally all over the US and internationally, I also worked simultaneously to earn my degree in business. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to do two things I loved and grow both of those interests at the same time. Now (like I had always hoped) I am getting to use both of them together at the same time. During this time my love for teaching and mentoring also flourished.

A little over two years ago, I moved back to Dallas from being in New Haven, Connecticut (teaching ballet at Yale University and dancing with Ballet Hartford). Around that time I met my colleague, Nicolina Lawson and we quickly realized we shared a very similar vision for a company and conservatory. That is when our professional ballet company, Ballet North Texas (nonprofit) was birthed. North Texas Conservatory is the official school of Ballet North Texas and opened this August 2019. We could not be more proud! This is a dream for both of us, and we are able to do what we both love best- ballet and business!

Another very large part of what we are doing with both Ballet North Texas and North Texas Conservatory is community outreach through our R.E.A.C.H. programs (Resources and Education through Arts for Community Harmony). Whether it be Veterans and their families, people with special needs/disabilities, socially and economically challenged or whatever the need may be, we are offering everything we can to these wonderful people.

The outreach for people with special needs and disabilities hits very close to home for me personally, as I have a sister and brother both with severe developmental disabilities. Seeing how much music and dance has impacted them (in so many great ways) their whole life, this cultivated my desire to give back in that way when I could. Throughout these years of dancing, singing and teaching all over, I have always managed to make that a part of my teaching and outreach.

At North Texas Conservatory we are offering adaptive dance and music therapy classes and sensory-friendly performances with Ballet North Texas! We also have some very exciting things in the works with Dallas ISD for our Adaptive R.E.A.C.H. program.

As a whole, I can say I could not be more grateful for the vision and mission we possess along with the amazing board and staff we have on our team. I wake up every day and am blown away that I get to call the life I live alongside such great people doing what we are all passionate about, my work.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I have to chuckle because its been one of the craziest seasons of my life (and I’ve had some pretty crazy ones), but I wouldn’t have it any other way. We’ve faced so many obstacles I can’t even remember them all – big, little, impossible, fixable… the list goes on. With true dedication, hard work, belief in what we do, and passion we are always able to come out on top. I know for sure that if it wasn’t for the truly good people we have alongside and behind us, it would have been a lot harder. Our dancers, parents, sponsors, friends and students have given us so much encouragement and support through the tough moments, and I am deeply grateful.

We’d love to hear more about your organization.
North Texas Conservatory is a nonprofit with our professional ballet company, (Ballet North Texas) and we are joint in our mission and vision to establish Ballet North Texas and North Texas Conservatory as an indispensable asset of the North Texas community through; exceptional performances of new, classical and historical masterpieces, excellence in dance training, distinguished community education and outreach for all ages.

Vision

| Performance |

Set new standards for artistic excellence, innovation and creativity. Cultivate appreciation for historic masterpieces of ballet and to provide an environment that inspires new choreographers while striving for the highest standard of professional excellence.

| Community and Education |

Seek to engage the community through programs and partnerships that provide access and equality. Create outreach to low-income and special needs children. Demonstrate dance and music as a fundamental part of education and life. Instruct and develop dance and music artists as well as enthusiasts.

| Structure and Audience |

Captivate a devoted, supportive, continually growing and diverse audience. Attract the most talented dancers, choreographers, musicians, collaborative artists, staff and volunteers. Strengthen our financial and organizational foundation to obtain security in our growth and reach.

North Texas Conservatory offers classical dance and music training and much more through our R.E.A.C.H. programs. We are set apart in the fact that we are the only professional ballet company (BNT) and school (NTC) in Dallas offering full classical dance programs, pre-professional day programs. classical music training and performance opportunities at the high caliber level we offer. Our staff are carefully selected and highly trained in their field, and produce astounding results with our students. We are adamant about our dedication to upholding the quality of training and respect for these art forms.

Last but not least, we are committed to providing a close-knit community where our families and students feel at home and involved. We strive to foster an environment that is uplifting and geared towards growth and harmony. Every person in our conservatory is known by name and treasured for their part they play in making our conservatory what it is.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Personally, humility. In a world full of everything telling us to always be better than the person next to us, I can for sure say that humility and kindness has taken me the farthest and produced the most growth.

For our organization, I would definitely say upholding the standard of excellence and respect for these art forms, but also always striving to have a healthy and uplifting environment!

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Image Credit:
DFW Dance Photography – https://dfwdancephotography.com/

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