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Flint Youth Ballet

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Karen Mills Jennings moved to Flint in 1980, when she was invited by Gayla Zukevich to dance with Ballet Michigan. While principal dancer with Ballet Michigan, she worked with choreographers Jill Earthorne Bahr, Victoria Uris and Loyce Houlton. Because of her enthusiasm and talent for teaching, Zukevich invited her to become a full-time teacher for the companyıs school in 1980.
 
In 1986 Jennings retired form performing and was appointed Department Chair for the Dance Division at the Flint School of Performing Arts. As Department Chair, she currently leads a faculty of 8 as they implement a curriculum of creative dance, ballet, modern and three performance ensembles for nearly 250 students. She founded Flint Youth Ballet in 1987 to provide the advanced students of the school with qualitative performance opportunities.
 
Jennings received her early training in the Detroit area and attended the first MidStates Festival in Kansas City in 1972. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Dance/Theatre from Marygrove College in Detroit and has studied extensively with David Howard.
 
Jennings is also Artistic Director of the Flint Institute of Musicıs production of The Nutcracker, as well as that organizations Outreach Coordinator.

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Flint Youth Ballet was founded in 1987 to provide qualitative and selective performing and training opportunities to serious and advanced dancers from the Mid-Michigan area.  Dancers from 12-18 years of age audition each winter and under the artistic direction of Karen Mills Jennings, prepare a repertory of classical and contemporary works.

The Flint Youth Ballet is the most advanced of three dance ensemble at the Flint School of Performing Arts.  The ensemble participates in the Flint Institute of Musicıs production of The Nutcracker with the Flint Symphony Orchestra and guest artists from the Dance Theatre of Harlem.  In addition to the Dance Division, the Flint School of Performing Arts is comprised of a music division and a pre-school division and has a combined enrollment of more then 3,000 students.

Flint Youth Ballet has 27 members which includes the Apprentice Company formed in 1994.  Dancers come from five different counties, often commuting more than an hour to study and rehearse at the Flint School of Performing Arts.  Flint Youth Ballet  alumni have danced with Ballet Michigan, Cleveland Ballet, Dayton Ballet, Demetrius Klein and Dancers, Dallas/Fort Worth Ballet, Oakland Ballet and the Repertory Project of Cleveland.  The Flint School of Performing Arts is located in the Flint Cultural Center Campus.

Copyright 2004, Alexandra Ballet