Program: Sports Medicine '14
Alex Pandiscio ‘14 is a graduate of our Sports Medicine program with a business minor and one of our two Hermance winners for 2014. In 2011, Rice awarded Alex with the Brotzen Award, a fellowship that allowed him to study ballet kinesiology and Vaganova methodology with master teacher Judith Reyn in Vienna, Austria. This gave Alex the opportunity to integrate his undergraduate studies in Kinesiology with his passion for dance education.
Alex has taught ballet to dancers of all ages in the Houston area since 2004. His unique background in kinesiology and sports medicine has made him a sought-out teacher, especially for dancers recovering from injury, young students going en pointe, adult students, and advanced dancers preparing for competition.
He began his ballet training at the age of five with Jacqueline Cronsberg at Ballet Workshop of New England in his hometown of Hopkinton, Massachusetts. He spent his summers training at American Ballet Theatre, Royal Danish Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet School. Postponing college, he pursued his dream of becoming a professional dancer by taking a position dancing with the Houston Ballet, where he remained for seven years. As a member of Houston Ballet, he danced in over seventy ballets, including featured roles in works by Ben Stevenson, Stanton Welch, George Balanchine, and Jiri Kylian.
Following his time at Houston Ballet, Alex was accepted into Rice University. His interest in teaching dance and a desire to understand the body from a scientific perspective prompted interest in the Kinesiology Department. Alex worked under Professor Etnyre and Dr. Gibson as a teaching assistant. He also co-authored a published abstract titled, “Comparison of instantaneous and delayed feedback on an anticipation timing task" with Professor Etnyre.
Alex conducted independent study research at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance Education under the direction of Dr. Rodriguez. Through this independent study, Alex observed the Sports Medicine and Conditioning team to enhance his knowledge on current conditioning and rehabilitation practices at Houston Ballet.
After graduating Rice with highest honors, he completed the year-long Teacher Training Program at Canada’s National Ballet School, where he taught in all levels of the Professional Ballet Program. As well, he studied ballet-specific neuromuscular re-education exercises designed by renowned functional anatomist Irene Dowd. In 2015 the school awarded him the Betty Oliphant Award for Excellence in Teaching. Following his return to Houston, Alex joined the faculty at Houston Ballet Academy, teaching extensively throughout the Lower School, Boys Program, and Adult Program, and also serving as a liaison between artistic staff and the body conditioning staff. In 2018, returned to Rice and earned a Certificate with Distinction in Nonprofit Leadership from the Leadership Institute for Nonprofit Executives (LINE) at the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies.
In 2019, Alex founded the Bayou City Ballet School, located in the Westchase District of West Houston. The school provides exceptional ballet training in a small school setting, while preparing aspiring young men and women for a life both in and beyond dance by teaching the values of commitment, kindness, and hard work. In addition to ballet, students take classes in contemporary, improvisation, variations, anatomy, and music. The School’s Children’s Program begins at age four with Joy of Dance, Pre-Ballet, and Primary Classes. Starting at age eight, students may enter the Pre-Professional Program where they are placed in levels based on ability, not age. The school also offers classes and workshops for adult learners from beginner to advanced.
Honoring both the art and science of dance, Bayou City Ballet School has integrated a body conditioning program into all the pre-professional classes. The daily conditioning exercises work to optimize student’s performance and prevent injury, and are informed by sports science research and current practices at leading international ballet institutions.