Debra Austin (Ballet Master, Founding Member) received a scholarship to the School of American Ballet when she was 12 years old. Four years later, George Balanchine personally invited her to join New York City Ballet. Praised by The New York Times for her ability to “levitate…and remain suspended in the air,” Ms. Austin danced many principal roles with New York City Ballet in works choreographed by Balanchine, including Symphony in C, Divertimento #15, and Ballo della Regina, in which Balanchine created a solo for her. She also danced lead roles for Jerome Robbins in The Four Seasons, Interplay, and Chansons Madécasses, which he created on her. She later joined the Zurich Ballet in Switzerland, where she danced principal roles (many with Rudolf Nureyev) in works by all of the major choreographers, including Myrtha in Heinz Spoerli’s Giselle. While there, she toured throughout Europe. After her return to the United States, she joined Pennsylvania Ballet as a principal dancer under Artistic Director Robert Weiss and danced roles in Swan Lake, Coppélia, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Giselle, and La Sylphide.