Student by day, dancer on stage


Photo Credit: Provided by Kylie Corrigan

Kylie Corrigan takes in the sights of the city during class.

Eli Sorensen, Senior Design Editor

It’s a quiet Sunday evening, and I am on the phone with Kylie Corrigan (12). A close friend of mine, Corrigan has pliéd her way to Chicago, and it’s at the heart of the windy city that she spends most of her senior year dancing alongside other talented ballerinas at the Joffrey Ballet Academy. Prior to her current residency, Kylie spent years training with Idaho Ballet Theatre, and summers learning from professionals all over the country. She hopes–just as she did at only three years old–to “become a famous ballerina.”

Kylie tells me all about the city. It has been hard to adjust, but this isn’t her first time out  “on her own” in a sprawling metropolis–she has also lived for several weeks at a time in Salt Lake and even New York City. These tastes of urban living have prepared her for her first “real” experience by herself in the city. “You have to do all the adult things,” she says. “Clean, cook for yourself. It’s so cool to be able to live in a big city. We get to walk around and explore so much. Today, we went to a new neighborhood and found a cute cafe.” She has found a special love for Chicago, this being her third return, and her high rise apartment makes for a great place to settle down after her lessons conclude each day. Her romanticized descriptions of the metropolitan life are accompanied with the reality of her purpose there.

“I dance from nine to five, six days a week,” Kylie tells me, and although she is a fulltime ballerina, she is still a student too. During her years with Idaho Ballet Theatre back home, she spent twenty hours a week dancing, on top of her rigorous school schedule. She will still be graduating in the spring, which means that when ballet ends, academia begins, albeit online. While she only takes the three classes she needs to graduate, Corrigan still spends two hours every night, even on the weekends, advancing her studies. “I’m used to it,” she says. “I had hours of homework every night after dance. I still do, just less, because of how much time I am at the studio.” I recall having studied for a Precalculus test with she and her twin brother at almost ten o’clock at night, Kylie having only just arrived home from dance.

In fact, Kylie affirms that college is still one of her priorities. “My parents have always encouraged me to pursue my passion,” she says. “But they also always wanted me to have academics as a backup. I’ve always taken school very seriously. The goal is to dance professionally, but you can’t do that forever. When I’m finished dancing, I’d like to enter into the health field, probably nursing.”

Corrigan takes me on a journey through her ballet schooling–she fell in love with the art as a young girl watching the Nutcracker. After a lot of begging, her mom started her on dance lessons at only four years old. Joining Idaho Ballet Theatre one year later, she trained under Brandy Jensen until her transition to Joffrey. “Brandy is a phenomenal teacher, it was an amazing opportunity to be able to receive such world-class training from her, even in Idaho Falls, Idaho.” In addition to her training, Jensen gave Kylie the opportunities she needed to experience dancing at a professional and national level. Kylie competed in the YAGP (Youth America Grand Prix) ballet competition for seven years, placing in the top twelve regionally every year. Corrigan also had plenty of opportunities to perform, dancing in the annual IBT Nutcracker every December. She had her first “real” job just last December, dancing with the Yellowstone Ballet Company for their own production of the Nutcracker in Bozeman, MT. Kylie has plans to audition for more professional jobs all over the country as soon as she can, and Joffrey is the trainee program she needs–the “stepping stone” as she says–that will get her there.