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The Ballet Centre was born in a long, narrow studio on a tiny street in El Paso, Texas in 1983. A freshly retired professional dancer, David Alejandro Duran, inherited the school from Ingeborg Heuser with only nine students. In just one year, as the school’s owner and Director, enrollment expanded by nearly three times and its first recital was offered to the public, free of charge. Created from his own vision, one of a kind handmade costumes were crafted for every girl and boy in the school. Sets, scenery and props were designed by David and handcrafted by local artist Richard Glass. The Ballet Centre’s first recital set a standard for the school that showed its students that dreams can come to life. Recitals have maintained that level of excellence, technical focus and care for handmade beauty through out the school's thirty years.
The school grew over the next decade and eventually relocated to a larger location where it thrived for another decade. After twenty five years in a growing city, rents across the city began to increase and space decreased. Eventually, in 2015, the school faced tenant rates that were nearly three times higher than they were a decade earlier. With several rent increases in just a few years and a burst pipe that flooded the studio, David made the hard decision to close the studio’s doors. Word got out to the school’s alumni and, as dancers tend to do, David’s dancers took the lead. In just three days, over a hundred dancers were connected via social media and a fundraiser was underway. The fundraiser called on dancers, their families and friends to help revive the school. “We have created this fundraiser to save the studio that taught us not only what it is to dance on a stage, but how to treat life itself as an opportunity to create our very own most beautiful and powerful dance.” It took the dancers only ten days to raise three times their goal for the teacher they said taught them “to glide through clouds, fly with fire, float through fog, grow wings to fly and dance with their dreams.” The response they received, they all knew, was a testament to incredible gifts David instilled in them.
Just one month after the studio closed its doors, dancers spanning three decades gathered to pass on to David the support they had raised from the community. In addition, the dancers handed David a box filled with nearly one hundred letters from the three decades of dancers he had taught. Each letter told David, in many cases for the first time, just how far The Ballet Centre’s lessons had carried them. David’s dancers had become doctors, artists, lawyers, authors, fashion designers, teachers, musicians, architects, community leaders, mothers and, in so many cases, many wrote to him as dancers still.
The Ballet Centre is more than a school for classical dance. Any person who enters the studio leaves smiling for whatever beauty they discovered in themselves that day. It is a magic place that teaches all the true reach of their dreams and the limitless nature of life’s dance.