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Friday, December 13, 2013

My Ballet Story: Part 3


Ok, so I did not plan on making this a three parter, but here is the third and final portion.

If you're not up to speed with what's going on, here are Part 1 and Part 2.

I'm on the right
I left off on part two getting ready for rehearsal after school when I got a phone call that would change my life forever.  The phone call went something like this.

"Yes, Emily, I was calling you to tell you that rehearsal is cancelled today.... and tomorrow... Ballet Internationale is closing it's doors as of today."- Board member of the company
"BI has closed."- Board member

It was UN-REAL.  But, this is where I was supposed to end up...I was going to be a professional dancer in this company.  I had planned this since I was like, six years old.  I was in a state of crisis.  BI had relied heavily on donations from corporate sponsors.  It was about the time before everything in the financial markets took a turn for the worse.  Huge corporations could no longer donate huge sums of money to the arts.

The next few months were a scramble.  I was trying desperately to audition for professional companies to maybe have a crack at getting a contract.  I had just turned 17.  I went to several auditions and just prayed that maybe out of the 1,000 dancers they saw that year, they would pick me.

My audition headshot.  I still had braces, but was trying to make myself look old enough to hire.
Somehow, I ended up getting an trainee contract with Cincinnati ballet.  I was shocked and thrilled and terrified.  I remember thinking, wait a second... this is actually happening.  I'm going to move to Cincinnati, and live by myself, and homeschool myself through my senior year?  I don't want to do this.  I don't want to be a dancer.  I'll never forget speaking to the artistic director on the phone and turning down her offer.  Thankfully, she was incredibly kind.

I still took some ballet themed senior pictures.
I was 17 years old.  I had never been to a school dance or a high school football game.  I had never had a real boyfriend or had any time to truly devote to school.  I wanted to spend my senior year being a kid, for once.  So, I quit.  I took open classes when I wanted and paid as I went, and slowly, those became more and more few and far between.  I got my first job working as a hostess at a steak house with all of my friends.  I was trying to soak up all of the high school experiences in just 10 months.

Catalog modeling right after I had quit ballet.
I remember thinking that I looked fat because I hadn't been dancing 8 hours a day. (HA!)
One night, while driving home from a party, I was telling my friend Sarah that I had no clue what I was going to do.  I had all of my eggs in the dancing basket, and that had been thrown out the window.  She told me (not suggested, TOLD) that I should go to Purdue and be a nurse with her.  We could room together, and it would be perfect.

So, I made my decision in about ten seconds.  I thought to myself, "I like health class in high school, being a nurse sounds great.  Ok, Purdue it is!"  It was the one school I applied to, and somehow, I got into their nursing program in one try.  (I have no idea how I have this kind of luck).

Add college and a few years after, and this is where I am today.

Ballet was such a huge part of my life and made me who I am.  It is a cut throat world (believe me, there's a lot I didn't get into), but I loved the beauty of it all. Everyone always asks me, "Do you miss it?"  I miss many parts of it, but I guess the answer is no.  I love to think back to all that I've done, but I wouldn't change where I am right now in my life for anything.

I think it's funny that I share these posts on the week before my marathon.  It just goes to show that you never know where you'll end up. Ballet taught me so much about hard work and pushing myself. I'm hoping that I can pull from some of the perseverance and grit that I used so often in ballet to get me through this.

Wish me luck!  I'll be posting updates on Instagram (here) throughout the weekend.


  1. wow~ it still amazes me how different people can come from and change!,, you def still looked like you are in ballet shape to me back in Sept!

  2. I just lost a solid 30minutes at work reading the entire story, it was like the curtain was pulled back and showed us a real person who lived such an exotic (to the layperson) lifestyle and upbringing. I can totally see it now in your pictures though, you were a gorgeous kid as well.

    Thank you for reliving and typing all of that out, yours is an amazing story to share.

  3. You should still model for ballet catalogs! My coworker went to Purdue for nursing too. Except it was about 20+ years ago! This was such a great story! It's amazing how life works out!

  4. WOW what a story!!! That is such an amazing journey and I'm so very glad that you shared it.

  5. Wow! It sure is amazing how life can change so fast! Thanks for sharing your ballet story! Best of luck to you on your marathon!

  6. This is so sweet! That decision brought you where you are today!

  7. Good luck this weekend! So glad your story has such a happy ending :)

  8. You looked and still look absolutely stunning!! I know you are going to dig deep and really rock this marathon. It is sad that it ended that way but glad it all worked out in the end!

  9. Loved your ballet story! I'm sad it's over. I'd love to see more pictures? Do you ever think about teaching?

    ~Ashley @ A Cute Angle

    FYI - giveaway at my blog!

  10. Awesome story. You were absolutely stunning in all of your pictures!!!

    GOOD LUCK this weekend !!! I can't wait to hear about it and follow you :)

  11. I loved reading your story! I don't know many legit ballet dancers and now I know why after reading your blog this past week. It is no joke and I'm sure there are only a select few cut out for that world. I admire your honesty about it all and thank you for sharing it with us! Good luck on the marathon! Hope you're feeling better!

  12. What a great story to share!! I had very similar experience playing competitive tennis for 12 years ~ it's tough making such grown-up decisions, but you're exactly where you were meant to be!! Good luck this weekend - you'll do great!!

  13. Good luck this weekend!! Now I kinda want you to write a memoir so I an read more ;)

  14. So glad you took the time to post about your dance journey. :-) It's been crazy to watch (from afar in some cases) where everyone from back in the day has landed since then. . . but I couldn't agree more that the road takes each of us exactly where we're meant to be even if we didn't plan it out that way! It's great to see everyone happy and successful even just via the internet. <3

  15. This final story really sums it up nicely. I am so glad that you shared it! I was a clogger for 15 years (think countrified tap dance). I was always envious of the ballet dancers at our studio as they were much more graceful than I could ever hope to be. I know you will rock the marathon. Can't wait to hear all about it!

  16. Such a gorgeous story! I danced for ten years and finally got so burnt out I quit it all. I miss parts but I know I would have been unhappy continuing. Thanks for sharing! :)

  17. Wow that's amazing! You were and are beautiful!
    Nicki @

  18. One of my best friends, a male, has been deep into ballet for the past couple years.
    You sound like such a hard worker and so talented! Good luck with your marathon
    p.s. New follower here on GFC :)
    x atelier zozo

  19. so amazing! and you're hot, just thought i'd get that out there.

    my daughter who is 5 is taking mini-ballet. they teachers are really gentle with them (and they're so cute in their little outfits!) but in the older classes where the girls/guys are in their late teens, the teachers YELL at them and loud!!

    Vodka and Soda

  20. you are gorg!!! thanks for sharing your dancing stories! it sounds like you are an incredible dancer, but i'm glad you went with what made you happy:)

  21. Loved reading your ballet story! My cousin is a professional ballet dancer and I know the life she had to sacrifice to get to her dream. The way you picked your major in college is very much how I picked mine!


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