When I was a young girl, I used to say a short prayer every night before I went to bed. “Dear Lord,” I would think, with my eyes closed and my hands clasped tightly on my stomach,“please help me to become a principal dancer with San Francisco Ballet.” (Later in life, I started wishing for a spot in American Ballet Theatre, as well). Then I would add, “Oh, yeah, and please keep me, my mother, father, sister and brother healthy, too.”
While I’m sure that my singular focus played a large part in my landing a corps position with both companies, I sometimes wonder if in the long run it hindered me. As a teenager, I had become so taken with the prestige of the two companies and the possibility of dancing alongside my idols that I never asked myself whether the high-pressure atmosphere was right for my development as a dancer.
As we point out in “The Company Quandary” by Kristin Lewis (p. 50), there aren’t just four ballet companies in the country. And while smaller companies may not be in the largest cities and may have shorter contracts, working with them can be equally—and sometimes even more—fulfilling.
Whether a big or small company will be their destination, the artistry is evident in our cover girl Emily Kadow (“The Natural,” p. 46); the five up-and-coming students from American Ballet Theatre’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School featured on our fashion pages (“Prepped to Perfection,” p. 38); and all of the other young dancers—including Jessi Trauth (“Becoming Sally Bowles,” p. 28) and Garrett Smith (“You Should Know,” p. 72)—in this issue.
We at Dance Spirit think all have the potential to live out their dreams, whatever they may be, as do you! So reach beyond what you think is within your grasp, and don’t be afraid to let go of one dream to follow a new one. A long and fulfilling dance career is always a work in progress.
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
We also want you to
get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.
Isabella Boylston in "The Bright Stream" (Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy American Ballet Theatre)
Beloved by ballet fans for her lucid technique and onstage effervescence, by her Instagram followers for the deftly curated photos and videos she shares of her glamorous life, and by fangirl Jennifer Garner for all of the above, American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston is one of the rare ballet stars who's achieved mainstream fame. A native of Sun Valley, ID, Boylston trained at the Academy of Colorado Ballet and the Harid Conservatory before joining the ABT Studio Company in 2005. She entered the main company as an apprentice in 2006, and attained principal status in 2014. In addition to her successes with ABT, where she dances nearly every major ballerina role, Boylston has served as artistic director of the annual Ballet Sun Valley Festival, which brings high-level performances and classes to her hometown. And speaking of famous Jennifers: Boylston recently appeared as Jennifer Lawrence's dance double in the film Red Sparrow. Catch her onstage with ABT as Manon, Odette/Odile, and Princess Aurora during the company's Metropolitan Opera House season this summer in NYC. —Margaret Fuhrer