Coming from a family of dancers, some say I was destined to dance. My grandmother, Lee Garrard, had toured the country in a group called The Seven Lucky Girls, and went on to run her own dance studio called Lee’s School of Dance in Butler, Pennsylvania. It was in this studio on the bottom floor of the family home, where she introduced my mother, Shelly Macy, to dance. My mom was literally raised in a dance studio! She went on to join Pittsburg Ballet Theatre, then majored in dance at Florida State University, and finally made her big move to Los Angeles to continue her career as a performer and teacher. My mom continued the family legacy by teaching me and my younger sister Cassie, and so began our lifelong connection to dance.
For fifteen years, I studied under my mom’s watchful eye at Orange County Dance Center in Huntington Beach. During this time, I also attended summer intensives at American Ballet Theater, School of American Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet School. These institutions fed my love for ballet, while also serving up some spirited discussions between my parents about the possibility of my attending one of them for year-round training. My parents always had faith in my abilities, however, they were not convinced I was ready to live on my own as a young teenager (go figure!). It was not until after I moved to Seattle at age 17 that I would understand and appreciate their intentions.
In 2012, I joined Pacific Northwest Ballet. Some of my favorite moments over these past seven years have been with the brilliant choreographers and coaches. I have had the opportunity to work with Twyla Tharp, David Dawson, Bernice Coppieters, Benjamin Millepied, Peter Boal, Crystal Pite, Alejandro Cerrudo, and Wiliam Forsythe, to name a few favorites.
In the spring of 2019, I received a promotion to Soloist; an achievement I would have loved to share with my first dance teacher, and biggest support - my mom. Four and a half years ago she passed away from a five-year battle with breast cancer. My love for dance will always be connected and bonded to thoughts of my mom. A bond that in turn helps me navigate her passing and keeps me close to her. I remember her telling me to channel my (many) feelings into my dancing. This advice helps me now more than ever before. My mom gave me a precious gift – my love of dance. In return, I am honored to share it, love it whole-heartedly, and pass it along. I was raised to trust my own path and never run other people’s races. The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.