Ballet Academy East is deeply honored to announce this year’s recipient of the David Howard Foundation Scholarship – Pierson Hall! David Howard was one of the most highly respected and sought after ballet teachers in the world. His student roster included countless professional dancers from New York City Ballet, Royal Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and beyond. For over twenty years David Howard graced BAE with his presence during our annual Summer Intensive. Generous support from the David Howard Foundation not only enables our dancers to realize their dreams but also allows us all to continue to feel David Howard’s remarkable presence at Ballet Academy East.
David Howard Foundation Statement: David Howard had a high regard for Ballet Academy East and its curriculum, having given master classes for the boys each summer for several years. The David Howard Foundation, Inc. decided what better way to celebrate David’s memory than to offer a scholarship each year to a young male dancer with professional potential. In conjunction with Julia Dubno and Darla Hoover, it is our aim to carry on David’s legacy in this way. Pierson Hall is the fourth recipient of the David Howard Scholarship at BAE. The previous awardees have all gone on to professional careers and Pierson too, has the talent to excel in his chosen field. The Foundation is delighted to be supporting Pierson’s study at BAE.
Pierson’s Story, In His Own Words: I have been studying dance since the age of four. I started with Hip Hop then Tap and Jazz. At age seven I added ballet class at a local dance studio and eventually joined the boy’s program at The Joffrey Ballet School in NYC. In 2011, I auditioned and was accepted at The School of American Ballet at Lincoln Center where I trained for six years. While there I had the opportunity to appear with the New York City Ballet in productions of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, Romeo & Juliet, Swan Lake, and Harlequinade. At age 15, I attended the American Ballet Theatre Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School on a Full Merit Scholarship. Unfortunately, later that year, I became unable to dance from numerous injuries due to growing six inches in less than a year. I required several months of physical therapy while going through such a huge growth phase.
In 2018, I was given the opportunity to return to dance training at Ballet Academy East. I was put into a lower level to ensure I was able to regain muscle tone before getting back on track. While training at BAE I’ve grown so much as a person and as a dancer. I’ve learned how to further hone my technique and my artistry. I am so grateful for the help of the amazing faculty at BAE, especially Darla Hoover. I’ve also learned how important being a part of a tight knit community is particularly during times like these.
Taking class from home via Zoom due to COVID-19, was very challenging at first. I was able to adjust to the environment thanks to the patience and dedication of the teachers at BAE and CPYB. Fortunately, in addition to having a variety of classes six days a week, BAE is also providing individualized private lessons. This has been extremely helpful since the teachers don’t always get to see everybody onscreen due to the large class size.
For many years, I have made it a priority to attend summer dance intensives. I’ve trained at Miami City Ballet School, Boston Ballet School, Manhattan Youth Ballet, The Paris Opera Ballet School, and The Royal Ballet School in London. This June I am excited to be returning to the American Ballet Theatre Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School for their summer intensive.
It is such an honor to be named the 2019-2020 David Howard Foundation Scholar. I feel so accomplished to be able to look back and see how far I have come since my early days as a dancer. I am truly humbled and so very grateful for this opportunity.
In the future I hope to continue to improve my strength and technique as well as my ability to perform at my absolute best. I am looking forward to the opportunity to dance with a professional company soon.
Photos of Pierson Hall by Rosalie O’Connor