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.