Hepner-Thurston returns to ballet at CAST Academy of Dance

FALLBROOK – Jacqueline Hepner-Thurston is now teaching ballet classes at CAST Academy of Dance every Wednesday morning from 9 to 10:30 a.m.

“I have a great deal to give to the next generation, as it was given to me,” Hepner-Thurston said.

At age of seven, Hepner-Thurston knew she wanted to be a professional ballerina after her mother took her to see the ballet, ‘Swan Lake.’

“I knew right away that ballet was my passion; it was my dream,” said Hepner-Thurston.

When Hepner-Thurston graduated from high school, her next destination was New York where attended the School of American Ballet during which she was trained by George Balanchine. Her career as a lead ballerina is a dream that many dancers hope to aspire to one day.

Her unbridled talent and grace sprinkled the stages both nationally and internationally. Hepner-Thurston was one of the original dancers in the New York City Ballet from 1948 to 1952. Her genius in the art of ballet appointed her a principal ballerina with the Washington Ballet and National Ballet for a decade. Hard work and determination made Hepner-Thurston the dancer that she is today.

Following her career as a professional dancer, Hepner-Thurston became a highly respected director and instructor at institutions such as Maryland University, San Diego Ballet, Ballet Society of North County, and now as an instructor at CAST Academy of Dance.

She considers herself lucky in life to have had the gift of studying and dancing with famous people throughout the world. She yearns to teach the arts to people of all ages, especially children.

“I don’t just teach students steps; I’m teaching the students the history of an art form.”

To this day, Hepner-Thurston said she adores teaching ballet and compares it to planting a seed and watering it: “Pretty soon you’ve got that beautiful flower, and that is what teaching is to me.”

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