Standing on stage, the light floods my eyes like rays of spring sunshine streaming through a window. At first blinding, they adjust and at last I can see the people and some faces of those filling the cavernous space before me. The sweat finally begins to subside as the waft of the cool breeze hits my face from the velvet curtain that just rose. My heartbeat settles as my smile and eyes beam.
Sandy, our stage manager is yelling from the stage right wing, but her voice is drowned out by the applause and my conscious choice to be there. Right there. In the moment. This is it. I won’t get this back.
Taking a bow is, well, there’s something sacred about it. Or at least that’s how I feel.
As a dancer you train for hours, for years, honing your craft, pouring your heart and soul, your blood, sweat and tears into your work. We love it, the daily grind – in maybe a slightly masochistic way if I’m going to be completely honest. But it’s still love.
But the stage. This is the culmination. This is the 360˚ mountain-top view that the grueling hike is for. It’s where our hearts soar, where our feet fly and where our souls are set free to be exactly who God created us to be: dancers; performers.
And yet what is a performance without an audience? To hear the clamor of applause after you’ve given your all. Even the sporadic “Bravo!” or “Woo!”… I can always pick out my mom’s. She has such a distinct “Woo.”
But I don’t take it for granted – the roar. It’s gift enough to dance on stage. To do what I love. How many people are afforded that opportunity in life? I mean really?
For me that’s enough. More than enough. When I dance I give all of myself, not because I expect or need affirmation, but because I can’t help it. How can I give anything less when I’ve been given such a gift? When I’ve been so abundantly blessed?! The joy just overflows and only one thing remains.
So when all is done, when that curtain rises one final time, when that breeze wafts over me, so too does a profound sense of humility. I bow, not accepting praise, but rather offering it – offering my heart overwhelmed with gratitude. A ballet bow is called a “reverence” after all…
I bow first and foremost to my Audience of One- He who created me for this and has graciously given me this incredible gift.
And then I bow to you. My audience.
You have been there. Faithfully sitting in the theater, engaging with me from afar. You have accepted my offering of art and beauty. Of ballet. And I hope that you’ve been as blessed by the performance as I have. Without you this dream of mine would not exist.
It is with this same heart – overwhelmed with gratitude, full of joy, and overflowing with love – that I share with you some exciting news.
On Sunday, June 12th 2016 I will be taking my final bow on the PNB stage.
It has been an honor and a privilege dancing for you these past 12 years. I have never wanted to dance anywhere else, nor for anyone else. Seattle is my home and always will be.
There have been many reasons that have led me to this decision – one of the hardest I’ve ever had to make. But ultimately I feel that God, who has graciously (and miraculously) enabled me to enjoy this life I’ve had here at PNB is calling me out – closing this chapter and beginning a new one.
My future plans are forming as I write this (they may involve home-ownership, school and lots of travel – just to name a few…), but I know that He who gave me this first chapter certainly has wonderful things planned for the next one. And I’m a NW girl at heart so rest assured I’ll be around. PNB and ballet are in my blood… I mean they’ve been a part of my life for the past 26 years! I think they’re there to stay, just in a different capacity.
And as for writing… you can expect even more of that from me in the future! So stay tuned…
But for now all I can say is thank you. Thank you for all your years of support, love and encouragement. Thank you for being my audience. I owe you all so very much. And thank you for accepting my gift – the gift of ballet.
This reverence is for you.
**On a more practical note, if you wish to see me dance there are only a few more opportunities! As stated above my final bow will occur Sunday June 12th in our season’s Encore performance. Tickets will go on sale April 8th! But till then, you still have our upcoming Coppélia performances as well as our final Rep of the season, American Stories, to watch me dance on stage. As stated above, it is an honor and a privilege to dance for you. Thank you for supporting me and PNB!
You can purchase tickets for Coppélia or any other PNB production by clicking here.