Heart of the High Plains: Lone Star Ballet

Heart of the High Plains

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Since 1975, the Lone Star Ballet has brought dance and entertainment here to the high plains.

The LSB is a one-of-a-kind panhandle staple and a way of life for not only artistic director Vicki McLean, but her dancers as well.

“I’ve grown up doing ballet. I’ve known nothing else,” said Benjamin Goesl, Lone Star Ballet dancer.

“There’s just nothing like it, it’s almost so hard to describe. It just probably means the entire world to me,” said Jamison Uselding, Lone Star Ballet dancer.

“It becomes part of you. It’s like breathing. It’s like sleeping. You just eat, sleep and live to be a dancer. I have done it for a long time so it is part of my DNA,” said Vicki McLean, Lone Star Ballet Artistic Director.

McLean has been involved with the Lone Star Ballet for 16 years now and has built several dance academies in cities all across the high plains, bringing along with it some major success stories.

“I have one young lady, she started with me at the age of three in Hereford and they moved to Amarillo and she finished here and now is a student at Princeton. They have gone on to be at OU, SMU or one of the universities or they’ve gone on to dance in New York, Europe,” said McLean.

Like many businesses and non-profits, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Lone Star Ballet to go virtual for a time before returning to the studio in June.

“The dancers want the season and they need the season. We stay socially distant as well. We’re trying real hard because dancers are very funny. They kind of congregate and we’re always saying six feet, six feet, six feet and so they move out and wave at each other,” said McLean.

For Goesl, it’s also been a welcomed challenge.

“It’s been very fun because you don’t look at a male and go oh my God, he does ballet. It’s really pushed me and it’s been a lot of fun,” said Goesl.

That fun hasn’t been lost on McLean as well, who says there’s just something about the theater that brings out the best in everyone.

“The smell of the theater, the way the lights feel on your face that just absolutely explodes the magic of the dance, of the theater itself. We’re in love with the theater. We’re all in love with the theater,” said McLean.

The Lone Star Ballet recently announced that the annual December performances of The Nutcracker are being re-scheduled due to the Civic Center now being closed for the month of December due to COVID-19 concerns.

No make-up dates have been announced just yet.

To learn more about the Lone Star Ballet, click here: https://lonestarballet.org/

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