Grace Under (Academic) Pressure

January 10, 2007

One may wonder what Malea Grubb did with her time before she turned 10. Since then, when she began taking ballet at the Gayle Corkery School of Ballet in her home town of Fort Worth, she has had a single purpose for her life – to be a ballet dancer with a major company in a major city. Now Malea (which rhymes with "Maria") is a TTUISD senior, lives in Miami, and is well on her way to achieving that goal. Just as her dancing has blossomed with hard work and training, so too have her academics fl ourished outside of a traditional public school setting. Malea attended a private school from kindergarten through 10th grade before enrolling full time in TTUISD.

Malea has spent all of her summers since the age of eleven dancing away from home. As a 13-year-old, she was awarded a scholarship to attend Pacific Northwest Ballet School’s (Seattle) summer intensive program, and also attended the next two summers. Last summer, she attended the School of American Ballet, the official school of the New York City Ballet. She was a Youth America Grand Prix (an international ballet competition held in NYC) finalist. This year, she was awarded a full scholarship to study with Miami City Ballet School.

So what’s next for the young performer? "For next year, I have been promoted to the most advanced level in the school," said Malea. "This summer, I will be studying on full scholarship with Miami City Ballet School. After that, I will be spending the later half of the summer in Washington, D.C. studying on scholarship under Suzanne Farrell, the legendary ballerina who was George Balanchine’s muse, at the Kennedy Center." Balanchine was one of the 20th century’s foremost choreographers, and one
of the founders of American ballet. His work formed a bridge between classical and modern ballet.

As hard as she works at her dancing, she works equally hard on her studies. Malea is currently in the running for the both the National Merit Scholarship program and the National Hispanic Merit Scholarship program. Several years ago, she was chosen through a national poetry competition to have a poem published. In addition, as a 7th grader, Malea was a
Duke Talent Identifi cation Scholar, based on her scores on the SAT.

Schooling through TTUISD has helped Malea blend her dance career and academics seamlessly. "I am able to spend six or more hours a day in the ballet studio and still keep ahead in my school work," said Malea. "I have actually been working faster than I worked in traditional school. I plan to graduate early. All of my teachers and counselors have always been extremely accommodating and helpful at TTUISD."

From her parents' perspective, Texas Tech ISD has allowed Malea to pursue her dream of a career in ballet without sacrificing her education. "We are pleased with the variety and rigor of the courses offered. The staff and teachers are helpful and supportive," said Laura, Malea’s mom.

About her future, Malea is certain. "My goal is to dance professionally with a major Balanchine company, specifically the Miami City Ballet." But her parents also tout her academic goals. "Malea plans to continue her education after high school graduation. Texas Tech University’s college-level distance learning programs will provide a way for her to continue her education under the demanding time constraints of a ballet career," said Andy, Malea’s dad.

And even though Malea may seem singularly-focused, she does make time for other activities. "I also do jazz dancing. I have done professional modeling with Star Styled. I also participated as a vocal soloist at my prior school’s show choir." Malea is a passionate reader and aspiring author of fiction. Another goal is to write and publish a novel of her own. Her other hobbies include Gyrokinesis (an elongating method of the body, similar to yoga and pilates), knitting, blogging on the Internet, and playing with her Chihuahua.

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