When my leg twitches, I know I’m watching a good ballet. A dancer once told me it’s a habit that comes with the territory. His sympathy was reassuring and empowering. Though I no longer practice ballet with a career in mind, a dancer lives within me. Just the same, The Nutcracker beckons tears every single time even though I know exactly what to expect from a performance. For me, ballet evokes an indescribable sense of passion.
According to my mother, as a toddler I’d dance around the house constantly—until she pulled out the video camera, that is. My shyness kept ballet classes at bay until, in fifth grade, I simply couldn’t stand it anymore—I had to be one of the girls onstage in The Nutcracker. My humble beginnings in the Central Valley of California were, in fact, hardly humble. In awe, I watched professional guest dancers perform their pas de deux; my world-class teachers and directors spurred my love of ballet and challenged me artistically, physically and intellectually.
When toe and ankle injuries called for treatment at age 13, I simply felt unprepared to commit to surgery in order to pursue a profession in ballet. I quit, and have missed it ever since, but I hardly blame my young self for the decision. Though to this day my big toe and ankle still ache, those old pointe shoes hang on my wall, a memory something like a dream.
These days I tend to live vicariously through dancers, though they all say the same thing: “You like ballet more than I do!” It is because I am not confined to rehearsals day in and day out that I may tirelessly enjoy ballet through discussion, contemplation and writing. At the end of the day, I am not escaping ballet; ballet is my escape.
My education equipped me with the tools to study and think critically, and these are skills that I enthusiastically apply to art. My experience in journalism brought out an extrovert in me that finds great interest in people, which compels me to discover the person in the dancer when I interview the godlike creatures who I watch onstage.
Over the years, the dancers who I’ve met all share an unparalleled dedication to their craft, incredible beauty and inspiring creativity that I admire more than (my many) words can express. Through The Boston Dance Journal, I hope to hope to invite readers to share my joy of this beautiful art form, and the incredible work that individuals are daily creating in the world of ballet.