When I was 9 years old, I took my first pointe class. It was my first exposure to classical ballet, my first time hearing the word épaulement, and my first time using those barres around the studio walls for a non-playtime purpose. I had stepped- rather abruptly- out of the world of sequins and trophies and into the rigorous schedule of Festival Ballet Providence’s summer workshop.
Because like many children of the ’90s my previous knowledge of pointe shoes came from posters of babies in green tutus, I strolled into that very first pointe class with my ribbons criss-crossed 3 times and tied just below the knee. Yes, I know. Luckily for me (and my pre-adolescent self esteem), gracious Miss Mary Ann put a gentle arm around me, chuckled, and guided me through the entire process from padding to relevé.
That first pair of properly laced pointe shoes was like a seal; I was irrevocably into it. The next fall I registered for a few classes, then more, and by the following year I was diving into a full load of classes on the pre-professional track at FBP.
When the need for Summer Dance Intensive training wove its way into what I was beginning to subconsciously refer to as my “career path”, I was 11. FBP’s was the first SDI I attended, effectuating my first impression of the demanding, rewarding, and, yes, intense experience these programs are named for. Naturally, I was hooked.
The six summers that followed brought me from Connecticut to New York and back. I performed with a pseudo-company of 22 international dancers at Jacob’s Pillow and studied under countless methodologies, including a Bolshoi program taught entirely in Russian. Ras, dva, tri…
Just in time for my final Summer Dance Intensive, though, fate brought me back to FBP. Those 4 weeks were some of the most physically difficult and spiritually gratifying I have ever experienced. My body and mind were tested in that specific, euphoric way only exhaustive dancing can incite. It was my divine confirmation. This was the work I wanted to be doing. This was professional ballet.
If my summer dance experience seems to have already come full circle, well then consider this a second lap: I am thrilled to announce I will be teaching in FBP’s 2017 Summer Dance Intensive! This July I will join the staff at FBP, instructing future ballerinas in variations and pointe.
The studios that fostered my love of ballet, equipped that love for the real world and have since become my second home will now grow with me once more. I cannot wait to give back all that this sacred place has given me. So come dance with me, will you?