We had the good fortune of connecting with Anna Sessions and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anna, how does your business help the community?
A large part of the mission of my organization (North Texas Conservatory/Ballet North Texas) is to provide the arts (dance, music, & theatre) to communities who generally would not be able to benefit or participate in such experiences, education and training.
Our professional ballet company (Ballet North Texas) brings ballet performances specifically to veterans through Vettix, an organization that provides free tickets to veterans and their families. We are also able to donate tickets to the Boys and Girls Club for students and their families to attend. In addition, we provide small performances for local North Texas schools and For the Nations Refugee Center.
A new project we have taken on the last two years is offering Sensory Friendly performances to children and adults with special needs and disabilities. There is a great need for these performances in North Texas, and it is something we plan to continue to provide every time we perform. Last but not least, we partner with Crafting For a Cure, where we go into local children’s hospitals to craft, perform for children and visit with them!
The Conservatory (North Texas Conservatory) provides training to a large variety of students. We are able to scholarship multiple children every year and give full attention to students with special needs or disabilities. I wanted to create a space that truly allowed for family support and community while participating in wholesome education.
We are so much more than a place to go to learn how to dance, sing or play an instrument! This is a home for whole families to come and feel supported as their students grow in skill, character and personal success. We seek to mentor students, instill in them the history and importance of the arts, and give them the tools they need to reach a professional career.
Additionally, our outreach programs include music and dance classes at For the Nations Refugee. We are extremely grateful to be a source of art, hope and education for our community!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
On a daily basis I do everything from teach, budgets, marketing, manage schedules, programs, outreach, and still perform in ballets! My favorite part of my job is getting to teach and mentor. All of the time I have spent teaching and performing has greatly shaped how and why I teach. That is something I am extremely proud of, and am grateful for the opportunities presented to me that have fostered that knowledge and confidence.
When I was fourteen I opened my own ballet school because I needed a job. I had been trained to teach dance and there was a need for a ballet school where I lived. This was the beginning of my career as a business woman and professional artist. I gained a wealth of knowledge through this job!
This led to many opportunities down the road to direct schools, and develop new programs within schools and companies. While touring as a professional ballerina, I had multiple opportunities to teach master classes and choreograph nationally and internationally. One of my favorite opportunities from this career path has been serving as a Ballet Mistress for Yale University.
Experience has always been one of my greatest teachers! I have been inspired by my experiences (working for others and on my own) to create an organization that balances professionalism, community, and quality. Building a place where employees enjoy coming to work, feel inspired to create and are supported in their choices. Work environments (whether positive or negative) have affected my growth, and I think it extremely important to provide a place for both employees and clients to flourish. A consistent theme throughout my career is seeking growth and improvement. I have a desire to refine the process of everything I’m doing, and many times that means taking risks.
I would say loyalty and sacrifice play a major role in how I run my personal life and my organization. This has been a huge challenge in a world where many are not loyal or long suffering for the good of others. My path has been overshadowed with failure at times, and those were moments I chose to rise and fight for growth. Fighting for good, kindness and the health of yourself and others is always worth it!
All of this has brought me to the point of leadership, a role I do not take lightly. Because of the path I have taken, I am constantly prompted as a leader to remember how it feels to be in the shoes of a student, employee or colleague. I strive to grow daily, not to perfection, but to be better, do better and encourage others to as well.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh this is a hard question! I am fond of East Dallas (where I have resided the last 3 years) and I love me some local favorites. I always take my friends to Maya’s Modern Mediterranean for what I think is the best authentic mediterranean food in Dallas! For coffee, I’d drop in at White Rock Coffee and grab a simple cappuccino.
Other food/drink favorites are Smokey Rose, Wabi House, Halcyon, La La Land Kind Cafe, Goodfriend Burger, and Hello Dumpling. As for activities, I’d go to the Arboretum, Alamo Drafthouse, or see a live performance at Moody Performance Hall!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
As I consider my journey to this point, there are so many I want to thank and acknowledge for their part in my own success! My mentor from high school has and continues to support and give wisdom as I face new seasons, successes, and challenges.
Family has been an irreplaceable support system and cheer squad (literally, there are a ton of them). They have always believed in whatever I set my mind to do and supported it with encouragement, necessary critique, love and devotion. My business partner, Nicolina Lawson as we’ve worked together tirelessly to make this organization what it is. Last, but definitely not least are the families that I have had the privilege of serving over my entire career. The generosity, encouragement and kindness they have given has been life changing to me!
DFW Dance Photography – Allan Gonzalez