Ballet dancer

Local ballet dancer Isabella Cowles wins international dance award

KALAMAZOO, MI — Isabella Cowles, a senior from Loy Norrix Secondary School, received the Solo Seal Award from the Royal Academy of Dance at a gala in Toronto, Canada in June.

The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) is a global organisation, centered in London. The Solo Seal exam is the pinnacle of the academy’s exam system. Entry to this exam requires candidates to have achieved distinction in their Advanced Two exam – itself a very high standard of achievement. Candidates perform a series of solo variations in front of a live audience and are evaluated by world-renowned professionals in the ballet genre. The exam emphasizes solo level technique that would be expected as a member of a professional dance company. Of the 230,000 dancers participating in RAD assessments worldwide each year, less than 0.03% are at the Solo Seal level and only a quarter of them receive the designation.

Isabella attends classes five days a week at the Ballet Academy under Arlene Larson, a certified RAD teacher. Classes are held at The Station studios, 169 Portage St. In September 2014, Isabella was one of seven students who represented the United States at the RAD Genee International Ballet Competition in Antwerp, Belgium. Currently, Isabella is studying in Chicago at the Joffrey Ballet International Summer Intensive.