New York City principal Lauren Lovette has become an icon thanks to her emotional maturity and exceptional musicality. The 26-year-old quickly rose through the ranks after joining the company as an apprentice in 2009, reaching principal status in 2015. A Thousand Oaks, CA, native, Lovette started studying ballet seriously at age 11, at the Cary Ballet Conservatory in Cary, NC. After attending two summer courses at the School of American Ballet, she enrolled as a full-time student in 2006. Last year, she made her choreographic debut with For Clara, her first piece for NYCB. Catch her latest work this month during the company's fall season. —Courtney Bowers
Dear little Lovette,
There are so many things I wish I could prepare you for—so many challenges and joys ahead! Little do you know how brave you're going to become. You're afraid of the camera now, you freeze in the spotlight, and you fear large groups of people. But I'm here to give you some wisdom and advice to get you through the next few years of your life.
You'll have to work harder than everyone else. You'll meet girls who are better than you and you'll be tempted to give up. Learn from those dancers. Stand next to them at the barre and absorb their work ethic.
Live life with an open hand, for what has been given to you can quickly be taken away. Roles aren't "yours," they're everyone's. Your health is a gift. The quicker you learn this, the better.
Learn how to give, even if it's helping your biggest competitor. Don't store up the things that keep you
sharp; share them with those around you. Who you are as a human being on this planet is far more important than how many pirouettes you can do.
Don't live your life to check things off the list. Live each moment fully and feel things all the
way, even the painful moments. Enjoy the daily work, for in the work there is reward and deep satisfaction. Knowing you've done your best is the greatest peace a person can have.
Stop trying to force your life in one direction or another. Let it happen and live it as hard and as intensely as you can. Perform every time you dance and you'll never have regrets when you fall asleep.
Fall down. Get back up and try again.