Sophomore shines bright with help from the spotlight

Sophomore Layne Stowers spent five weeks over the summer participating in a ballet intensive with American Ballet Theater in NYC.


Layne Stowers and her friend Julia Pakerson outside of a fire station in New York City.

by Lily Manning, Staff Writer

While some were laying in bed watching Netflix and others were lounging on a beach somewhere in Mexico, sophomore Layne Stowers spent her summer in the Big Apple. But instead of walking around Times Square, Stowers was rehearsing for her final performance. During a five week period over the summer, Stowers was one of about 200 girls and boys, all ages 12-18, from across the country to participate in a program called American Ballet Theater.  

“All the different [ballet] schools around the United States will go to different places throughout the United States,” Stowers said. “American Ballet Theater came to Kansas City Ballet and [the students and I] auditioned.”

Stowers, who has been taking ballet classes since she was about four years old, was one of three others from KC chosen to travel to NYC.  But even among these three people she only knew one, her friend Julia Parkerson, who she shared an apartment with over the five weeks. Stowers also had her mom with her in NYC, which she said made it easier to cope with missing family and friends.

Though Stowers enjoyed her time in the concrete jungle, not all of it was spent visiting the local attractions.  Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Layne spent her time at American Ballet Theater.

“I would walk because my apartment wasn’t far from the studio,” Stowers said. “I would go and start off the day with either yoga or pilates then I would have an 1 hour and 45 minute ballet technique class. After that I would either have points class or pas de deux, which is dancing with a man. I would have an hour lunch then repertory or rehearsal for our final performance for an 1 hour and 30 minutes. Then after that I would have either modern, jazz, character, pilates or yoga depending on the day or week.”

After her work for the week was done, Stowers spent her weekends visiting all of the usual tourist attractions and soaking up all that NYC has to offer, including biking through central park.  Though Stowers is unsure what her future in ballet looks like, she knows she’ll never forget the experience that American Ballet Theater gave her this summer.