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Louisville Ballet Dancers Participate In Exchange With Australian Company

Two dancers with the Louisville Ballet have returned from a six-week exchange program with the Australian Ballet.

Ryan Stokes performed in three ballets with the company, sometimes with only a couple of days of rehearsal, and Leigh Anne Albrechta trained with the company’s dance medicine staff.

Albrechta is also a yoga instructor and is interested in physical therapy as a possible future career path. They both took class with the Australian dance company each day.

Louisville Ballet’s artistic director Robert Curran was a longtime dancer with the Australian Ballet and helped facilitate the exchange. Louisville Ballet dancers have the summer off, and Stokes had told Curran in a performance review that he wanted to avoid a "summer slump."

Stokes said he knew he would be training with the company, but he didn’t know if he would actually be performing before he went.

“I was told that they were going to try to fit me into their rehearsal schedule and allow me to perform, but that it was not a concrete thing. So I tried not to get my hopes up too much, but I worked hard, and it worked out,” Stokes said.

Before a performance of "Giselle," Stokes was given a bag of boots to try on, and he found a pair with Curran’s name still on them.

“Just for giggles, I’m going to try these boots on. And they didn’t fit perfectly but they were the best-fitting pair of boots they had for me at the time. And I was like, I’ll wear my boss’ boots for this,” Stokes said.

Ryan got to dance with this amazing guy, Daniel Gaudiello, in Giselle wearing our Artistic Director @robert_j_curran boots. ? #dancerexchange #thesebootsaremadefordancing #learninghowtoausballet #ausballet #adelaidetour #giselle

A photo posted by Louisville Ballet (@louballet) on


The pair spent four weeks in Melbourne and two weeks in Adelaide. They hope this is the first of many exchanges with other dance companies around the world.

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