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Stories From A Dance Career Episode 8


As we sat on the airplane preparing for the take off of our arduous flight to San Francisco, my eyes closed and I suddenly was drawn back to a time many years prior. I was 12 years old and more excited than I had ever been. I was headed to the Kirov Academy of Ballet for a week to see how I liked boarding there.


I had already attended the summer program just 4 months earlier and was offered one of the few prestigious places at the year round program.


Kirov was like a mecca for young dancers wanting to make it as a professionals. Ballet, academics, and living quarters were all housed in a gorgeous facility on the outskirts of North Capitol in Washington DC. It was only 4 hours from San Francisco to Washington DC, but this was my first time flying alone and it would be my first time sleeping in a bed that wasn't mine without my parents nearby in a school that was one of the toughest and most elite in the United States.


It was a special time. Thousands of students auditioned for a spot every year, and here I was with being offered one of them. I had the opportunity to take class with one of the best teachers at the school, Anatoli Kucheruk. Little did I know at that time that I would be spending more time with Mr. Kucheruk over the 5 years that would follow than nearly anyone else in my life. 5 years of 5 hour ballet classes, 6 days a week.


For the next week I attended academics as if I was a member of the school, took what seemed like endless ballet classes and ate more poptarts than anyone ever should. I was in love and the thought of returning to my hometown of San Francisco again was heartbreaking.


It was in that week that I decided I wanted to be a professional dancer. I was finally amongst other young adults that shared my dreams and teachers who had lived them.


When I got off my flight back to San Francisco and hugged my parents they knew by the look in my eye that there was no other choice, I would be broken if I didn't attend t Kirov and they decided to move our family from the west coast to the east...a direction that my career would eventually mirror with my move to Vienna.


Boom.


The plane jostled.


I awoke and we were a few hours out from San Francisco. The year was 2012. Marie-Claire had only been in surgery 3 weeks earlier. The future of our careers sat squarely across my shoulders. She couldn't audition with a broken foot, so I had to be good enough for both of us.


I always dreamed of one day dancing for San Francisco Ballet. But was I good enough?


We have a saying, Marie-Claire and I, that we like to jump and hope the net will catch us, and as I sat on that plane 36,000 feet in the air all I could do was trust in the net that would be Helgi Tomasson's decision 3 days later.



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