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Stories from a dance career episode 7


I was born in San Francisco and lived there until the age of 11. My parents moved with me at that young age all the way to Washington DC so I could attend the Kirov Academy. 5 and a half years later I was on my way to start my career with The Vienna State Opera.


7 years later and I had only just been promoted to Soloist a month earlier after my second performance of Sleeping Beauty. It was the greatest moment, it was also the most difficult. My professional career was at it's height and my personal life was on edge.


It is often like that.


The balance between personal and professional is so delicate. Especially when the one you love is also an artist, and a passionate one at that.


February 14th came along...yes Valentines Day...I remember it well because it was the day we gave notice that we would not be returning for the next season. Funny how it was on this day honouring love that I chose my personal love over my professional. We didn't have another contract, but it was the only choice. Marie-Claire and I chose each other. We were both about to take a massive leap away from the only company either of us had ever known. It was the first time we would jump without a net, but it wouldn't be the last.


The company would be touring to Japan in March, just after we finished with Anna Karenina. I was supposed to dance opening night. God how I loved that ballet.


Neither of us would be going to Japan...instead we had lined up an opportunity to travel to San Francisco to audition for San Francisco Ballet.


I didn't get to dance opening night, as one of the other leads got sick so they had to put on the second cast. Anna Karenina was one of those ballets that was so challenging the entire cast had to change if someone went out.


I was there that night though. A night that was supposed to be glorious for me but one that ended in unbearable pain.


The Carnival scene ended. I watched from the television side stage as Marie-Claire hobbled forward.


Blackout.


I heard her tears as she ran past me.


It all happened so fast I don't think she even knew what had happened. As she made her way to the back of the stage where she needed to rapidly change costumes she tried to put on her pointe shoes, but the side of her foot was floppy, as if the bones were no longer there.


It was bad.


What would this mean for our plans? Was this a sign?


Our San Francisco trip was 2 weeks away and as we were about to find out Marie-Claire had a spiral fracture in her 5th metatarsal.


The net we were trying to build was slipping through our fingers like sand through an hourglass. The physical pain of the break was like the foreshadowing you expect from a thriller. It was going to be painful to breakaway from the only home either of us had known as adults. The birthplace of our professional careers.


What would happen next would be up to fate and all we could do was hope that fate had our best interests in mind.



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