Butler Fellowship Program

About the Program

Endowed by Sarah and Ernest Butler through the Ballet Austin Foundation

The Butler Fellowship Program offers 15 fully-underwritten scholarships to outstanding dancers, and features an innovative and personal approach to a traditional, professional-track training. Butler Fellows are selected through Ballet Austin's Senior Summer Intensive, following a nationwide audition, and participate in up to 17 hours of classes per week. They rehearse and perform with the main company and Ballet Austin II in main stage, touring and educational performances.

Butler Fellow dancers range in age from 18–23, and are selected through a competitive audition process. The Butler Fellows participate in up to 17 hours of classes per week. Under the guidance of experienced faculty, they receive instruction in ballet technique, variations, partnering, men’s technique, modern, jazz, Pilates, body conditioning and repertoire. 

Integral to the Butler Fellowship Program is Ballet Austin's mentoring initiative, which establishes a foundation of support and resources for the transition from student to professional. 

Second-year Butler Fellows also participate in the Academy's pedagogy program (teacher training) or in internships with Ballet Austin's education, marketing, production, and administration departments. Many graduates of the Butler Fellowship Program have been promoted to Ballet Austin II or accepted contracts with other professional companies. Currently, 30 percent of Ballet Austin's main company dancers are graduates of the Butler Fellowship Program.

Through a partnership with St. Edward's University, Butler Fellows are eligible to receive up to 24 college credit hours for their Ballet Austin training. 


The Butler Fellows are recruited through Ballet Austin Academy, Ballet Austin's Senior Summer Intensive, and through Ballet Austin's partnership with Walnut Hill School for the Arts. For consideration, dancers must attend a minimum of one, three-week Summer Intensive session. Auditions for the Summer Intensive are held each winter/spring. Students age 18 and older can also be considered for acceptance into the Summer Intensive by attending a Company Audition.

For more information about the Butler Fellowship Program, email Eugene Alvarez or call 512.476.9151.

Butler Fellows

Mercedes Anchondo-Corral

Mercedes Anchondo-Corral was born and raised in Austin, Texas, and began her training at Ballet Austin. She trained with Ballet Austin until the age of 12 and then moved to Seattle, Wash., and studied at Pacific Northwest Ballet. After two years in Seattle, Mercedes moved to Carlisle, Penn., where she trained under the direction of Marcia Dale Weary at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. She danced at CPYB for four years before returning to Ballet Austin as a Butler Fellow for the 2015-16 season. During her time at CPYB Mercedes had the pleasure of performing Alan Hineline's Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Hansel and Gretel and Cinderella in addition to Laszlo Berdo's Carnival of the Animals. Mercedes also had the opportunity to perform George Balanchine's Raymonda Variations, The Nutcracker, performing the role of Lead Spanish, and Emeralds, dancing alongside New York City Ballet company members.

Ana Boyd

Ana Boyd began studying dance at age three at Pointe Dance Centre in Panama. From 2011 to 2013 she continued her studies at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, Russia, where she graduated as a professional ballerina and choreographer. She was the first Panamanian to graduate from this prestigious academy. Since 2007, she has been involved with the National Ballet of Panama in Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker, performing such roles as Bluebird, Red Riding Hood, Clara, Colombina, Dewdrop, and Snowflake. She also performed the role of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. With the Bolshoi Ballet Academy she performed in the pas de deux from Le Corsaire, Paquita, Diana and Action, La Fille Mal Gardée, Talisman, and La Bayadère, and the pas de trois from Swan Lake, as well as a principal role in Emeralds.

Kimberly Brubacher

Originally from Torrance, Calif., Kimberly's early classical ballet training was primarily at the Lauridsen Ballet Centre where she trained for six years under the direction of Diane Lauridsen. As a high school sophomore, Kimberly continued training at the Maple Conservatory of Dance in Irvine, Calif., under the instruction of Charles Maple, Kristin Hakala, and Patrick Frantz. At the Maple Conservatory, she enjoyed performing several roles including the Lead Arabian, Lead Mirliton, and the Snow Queen in Maple's The Nutcracker, the lead in Maple's Latcho Drom, and the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella. She has attended summer programs at The Washington School of Ballet, San Francisco Ballet School, Pacific Northwest Ballet School, and Ballet Austin prior to joining the Butler Fellowship Program. Kimberly is honored and excited to advance her training as a second year Fellow and grow as an artist wherever her career takes her.

Sarah Jane Clem

Originally from Rehoboth Beach, Del., Sara Jane Clem began her ballet training at the late age of fourteen with Sussex Dance Academy. In 2012, Sara had the opportunity to move to Moscow, Russia, to dance at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy. The following year she decided to continue her dance training at Ballet Academy East (BAE) under the direction of Darla Hoover. In her two years at BAE, Sara Jane had the privilege of performing many new works, including leading roles in Matthew Neenan's The Near Future, Margo Sappington's The Lake, and Lisa Di Ribere's Now and Then. Sara Jane is very excited to begin her first season with Ballet Austin in the Butler Fellowship Program.

Banks Cooney

A native of Birmingham, Ala., Banks received her early training at the Alabama Ballet School where she danced corps de ballet roles with the Alabama Ballet Company in George Balanchine's the Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Coppélia. In 2012, Banks attended Next Generation Ballet, under the direction of Peter Stark, where she danced the lead role of Cinderella in NGB's performance of Cinderella Lite and also performed lead Shepherdess in the Imperial Nutcracker. In 2013, Banks attended The Miami City Ballet School in the Pre-Professional/Ensemble Division where she danced the Cinderella pas de deux from Sleeping Beauty and George Balanchine's Serenade. The following year Banks attended The University of Arizona's School of Dance and was honored to receive the Arizona Excellence Award and the Fine Arts Tuition Scholarship. At the University of Arizona Banks performed George Balanchine's Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux and Ben Stevenson's Four Last Songs.

Katie Crellin

Originally from Huntington Beach, Calif., Katie Crelin received her early training from Marnell Himes-Ushijima at Huntington Academy of Dance. In 2006, she enrolled in Ballet Austin's Academy and studied there through high school. This season Katie continues her training as a Butler Fellow at Ballet Austin.

Lynette Garcia

Lynette Garcia is a second-year Butler Fellow who is originally from Seattle, Wash., where she trained at Turning Pointe Dance Centre with Tricia Volk. Prior to joining the Ballet Austin Butler Fellowship Program she attended summer intensives with Pacific Northwest Ballet, Alonzo King LINES Ballet and Ballet Austin. Since becoming a Fellow she has performed in Stephen Mills' The Firebird and The Nutcracker.

Kayla Hallman

Kayla Hallmas is from Carlisle, Penn. She trained with Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet under the direction of Marcia Dale Weary for twelve years before becoming a Butler Fellow with Ballet Austin. While with CPYB, Kayla performed roles in various storybook ballets including Laszlo Berdo's Carnival of the Animals, Snow White and Peter Pan as well as Alan Hineline's Cinderella, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, The Sleeping Beauty and Hansel and Gretel. She also performed soloist roles in Kiyon Gaines' 4 in Five and Jeffrey Cirio's 7 Ways of Departure. Kayla was privileged to dance in several Balanchine works which include Allegro Brillante, Serenade, Who Cares?, Walpurgisnacht, Raymonda Variations, and Divertimeto No.15, along with principal roles in Emeralds and Valse Fantaisie. While training with CPYB she performed Balanchine's The Nutcracker for 12 years that concluded by performing principal roles such as Sugar Plum Fairy, Arabian Coffee and Lead Marzipan.

Jake Howard

Originally from Jacksonville, Fla., Jake Howard trained in the Ballet Austin Academy for three years before being invited to join the Butler Fellowship Program. He received his early dance training from Linda Jenkins, Laurie Byrd, and Carlos Miller at the Florida Ballet Conservatory, and also attended Douglas Anderson School of the Arts as a dance major. Past summer programs include Orlando Ballet, School of American Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Ballet Austin. During his first season as a Butler Fellow he enjoyed performing roles in Stephen Mills' The Firebird, The Nutcracker, and Belle Redux / A Tale of Beauty & the Beast, as well as Jennifer Hart's Strange Toys and Nick Kepley's Greater Mass.

Noel Jensen

Originally from San Diego, Calif., Noel's initial ballet training took place at San Elijo Dance and Music Academy under Ben and Lauri-Michelle Houk. In 2011, he was invited by Michael Owen to attend Walnut Hill School for the Arts and skip the eighth grade. Noel spent his four years of high school at Walnut Hill, a boarding school outside of Boston. He furthered his studies at the summer programs of The Rock School, Pacific Northwest Ballet, The School of American Ballet, and Houston Ballet. In 2015, Noel attended the summer program of Ballet Austin where he was invited to join the Butler Fellowship Program.

Sarah Lewis

Originally from Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Sarah Lewis received her early training at Saratoga Ballet Academy under David and Christine Otto. In 2014 she moved to Carlisle, Penn., to attend Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet under the direction of Marcia Dale Weary. There she danced in roles such as Flowers and Snow in Balanchine's The Nutcracker. She has also danced in various pieces in CPYB's June Series and other productions such as Alan Hineline's Sleepy Hollow and Cinderella.

Madeline Mass

Originally from the Chicago area, Madeline Mass began her training at the Judith Svalander School of Ballet under the direction of Judith Svalander, Julie Hirsch and Greg Begley. While there she had the opportunity to perform leading roles in The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Cinderella. Before joining the Butler Fellowship Program, Madeline attended Ballet Austin's summer intensive in 2013 and 2014 and was a competitor in the 2014 Youth American Grand Prix.

Jessica Ramm

Originally from Seabrook, Texas, Jessica Ramm trained at the Houston Ballet Academy for six years. During her training Jessica had the opportunity to perform in The Nutcracker, La Sylphide, and Paquita, among numerous other ballets. Jessica trained at Boston Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Oklahoma City Ballet, and Ballet Austin summer intensives. She has also received training from Texas Ballet Theater School. Jessica danced professionally with Coastal City Ballet in Vancouver and last season as an apprentice with Oklahoma City Ballet. With Coastal City Ballet, she performed featured roles including soloist Sylph in Les Sylphides, Gretel in Irene Schneider's Hansel and Gretel, and Summer Fairy in Irene Schneider's Cinderella. This past season with Oklahoma City Ballet she performed fairy corps in Jacob Sparso's Cinderella, Snowflakes, Marzipan, and Flower Corps in Robert Mill's The Nutcracker, and Juliet's Friend in Robert Mill's Romeo and Juliet.

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