Erin Lane

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Back in her hometown only temporarily, Erin Lane stepped into Ballet San Angelo’s gleaming new studio … and she knew.

“That’s exactly where I needed to be,” she recalled. “So the temporary part of my return to San Angelo has now become permanent.”

That’s happy news to Lane’s many fans at the ballet. They describe the interim artistic director as possessing an “intuitive, organic work style” that celebrates people “in all their glorious differences.” Lane almost sheepishly responds that’s “who I hope I’m becoming.”

When praised for what one booster called her “all-consuming, 24/7” passion for Ballet San Angelo, she shrugs.

“The amount of time doesn’t really register to me,” she said. “It’s natural. I grew up in a studio. I found my identity in a studio. I guess it only makes sense to work in one.”

Lane’s mother enrolled her as a girl in the local ballet to improve her posture and her confidence. Dance sparked into “a passion I couldn’t live without.” That led Lane to pursue a degree in dance from the University of Texas, then a career abroad as a contemporary dancer.

She most remembers the “beautiful collaboration” of dancers from distant cultures with differing approaches to their art.

“There were moments we could share that, even if we didn’t speak the same language,” Lane said. “Dance was our language. Connecting in that way with people stands out.”

She walked away from dance, however, when she realized that while she thrilled at performing, she lacked a “certain mentality” necessary for auditioning for roles – a “push to make myself seen.”

After trying on a number of jobs and careers – none of which proved a good fit – Lane returned to San Angelo to care for her ailing father. That’s when she again stepped into a BSA studio for the first time in years, instantly impressed by its top-shelf home in the Performing Arts Center.

“It just kind of all unfolded, and one thing led to the next,” Lane said of her moves from student to performer to teacher. “That’s the beauty of art. It organically flows.”

Since joining BSA, she has launched a fitness program and a Dance for Parkinson’s class to help those suffering from any physical barrier to regain some mobility.

“I’m able to see people surprise themselves every time I teach my Dance for Parkinson’s class,” she said. “I’m equally empowered. That’s been a good journey.”

 That’s but one example of Lane engaging in “heartwork,” reminding those she teaches the “importance of where your work comes from,” Susan Kinney noted.

“I want so badly for people to feel the joy I have felt my entire life dancing,” Lane explained. “That truly does come from the heart. There’s no quantitative way to measure what I do, because it comes from that.”

That philosophy dovetails neatly into how Lane seeks to lead.

 “I define leadership as empowerment,” she said, “providing a space for others to share their talents, or collaborate, or have a creative conversation.”