Miami City Ballet principal Jeanette Delgado's dynamic, show-stopping presence and powerful, crisp technique have been wowing audiences for well over a decade. A Miami, FL, native, Delgado began training with Vivian Tobio, Liana Navarro, and Maria Victoria Gutierrez. At age 9, she received a scholarship to Miami City Ballet School and, in 2003, she earned the Princess Grace Award. That same year, Delgado became an apprentice with Miami City Ballet. In 2004 she was promoted to the corps, and in 2006 to soloist. She became a principal dancer in 2008. Catch her this month performing in the company's spring program. —Courtney Bowers
Take a deep breath. Exhale and let your fears slide away. Life isn't going to be easy. And those things you're worried about? Well, some of them will happen. But you'll get through it—and along the way you'll become a more compassionate and grateful dancer.
First of all, be kinder to yourself. I know sometimes you look around comparing yourself to others, and it's easy to see everyone else's incredible qualities versus your own imperfections. Let go of focusing on what they have compared to what you lack. Continue working with enthusiasm on the aspects of yourself you want to improve and appreciate the qualities in others, so they may inspire you.
At age 17 (courtesy Delgado)
You're young and many beautiful opportunities are coming your way! Accept these moments, as scary and challenging as they may seem, with grace and humility. Spend less time questioning why you were chosen and more time immersed in the work you've been chosen for. Cherish every opportunity—ballets are gifts meant to be explored. There's no sense in trying to be perfect. What you do with your imperfections will be much more interesting to learn from and to share.
In the moments of doubt and pain, open yourself up to learning all the lessons there are to learn. It'll be difficult when you're injured, but you'll return stronger and smarter by working on hundreds of exercises. In these moments, also recognize the importance of a balanced life. It's a time to reflect, rest, and meditate. These tools will allow you to feel happiness from within, whether or not you're able to perform.
Most importantly, take time to connect to what it is about dance that moves you. Watch from the audience whenever you can and soak up the magic. It'll take you back to the feeling you had when you first fell in love with this beautiful art form.
You got this!
A version of this story appeared in the March 2019 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "Letter to My Teenage Self: Jeanette Delgado."