Kathy Auten began as a student with the California Ballet Company 20 years ago. She taught classes for the company, served as ballet mistress, and rose through the ranks to the position of soloist. But Auten never made star status, even here on the home front.
When director Maxine Mahon began encouraging dancers to try their hand at choreography, Auten took up the challenge. For three consecutive years, she waltzed off with an award for her inventive and pleasingly musical choreographic designs. It was then that she realized her true calling.
"I guess I was lucky,' said Auten in a recent interview. 'I just found my niche." With rave reviews to show for her efforts, and the highest recommendation from her mentor, Auten applied for a fellowship at UC Irvine in the master's program in choreography.
"They told me 25 people applied, but they only took two, and I'm so glad I was one of them. I'm taking 16 units, and I love it." Now, with just a few weeks of university study under her belt, Auten has already been invited to submit a dance of her own design for the school's concert.