At the age of 17, after three intense years of ballet training with the School of American Ballet, I thought the only place to be was at New York City Ballet. Being an East Coast girl, I had the luxury of watching the company since the age of nine, and admiring the works of George Balanchine, including Stars and Stripes. I knew without a doubt that I wanted to dance on that stage.
When it came time for apprentices to be chosen, I thought my dream of dancing for NYCB was about to come true. Little did I know, elements outside my control would ultimately influence the company’s decision on my future: my appearance and race were more important factors than my ability to dance. Rejection due to this reasoning was one of the hardest moments of my life, and my career almost ended before it really began.
After spending some time figuring things out, I received a call from Peter Boal for an apprenticeship with Pacific Northwest Ballet. I still thought NYCB was everything, but something felt refreshing and positive about this offer. With the support of my loving family, I packed my bags without hesitation and started my career here in Seattle. It was truly a blessing in disguise. Since being hired in 2011, I have grown mentally, physically and emotionally, earning the rank of Soloist at PNB. My love of ballet grew by dancing numerous works by George Balanchine, and the traditional classical ballets like Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, and Giselle. These weren’t the only things that sparked the fire and the urge to expand my repertoire to new heights. My eyes were opened to the works of Alejandro Cerrudo, Crystal Pite, David Dawson, Nacho Duato and Twyla Tharp, just to name a few. My growth continues every day with the opportunities at PNB.
I now look back to my struggling teenage self and think that if I ever get to talk to her someday, I would tell her that she is stronger than she realizes, and will be stronger with every hardship endured. I would want her to love herself for who she is and let nothing stop the passion to pursue whatever makes her happy. The universe had much more in store for the 17-year old that would develop her into the artist, dancer, and person she is today.