In 1990, when Boston Ballet began renovating its 19 Clarendon St. headquarters, the company and school temporarily relocated to my elementary school’s gymnasium in Newton. It was every 6-year-old girl’s fantasy come true.
In between my first-grade classes, I’d peer down the long hallway and see these sinewy ballerinas glide past us on their way to rehearsal. They’d chat with one another as muffled piano music came from the gym. I would have done anything to be part of it.
Well, almost anything.
Some of the girls in my grade had signed up for ballet classes after school, and I begged my mother for lessons. But because I was an extraordinarily shy and nervous kid, I asked that she drive the 20 minutes to school in order to walk me down the long hallway to the gym. Because she is a good mother, she said I could take lessons only when I was ready to make the walk myself. It took me a year to muster the courage.
Those first solitary steps were the beginning of a journey that would lead, ultimately, to a decade of intense training, followed by nine years of dancing with the New York City Ballet. Those experiences would also inspire a young adult novel, “Bunheads,” that I wrote after retiring from dance.
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