choreographer, Yuri Possokhov
… with Joffrey Ballet dancer, Alberto Velazquez
After making sure I deeply immersed myself in the artistic culture every city had to offer, I also made sure to drown in each city’s way of life and customs. During my free time abroad, I had the opportunity to visit many of Europe’s most famous museums and monumental sites: the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijkmuseum, the Rijksmuseum, the Duomo di Milano, the Roman Colosseo, l’Arc de Triomphe, the museum of Jacquemart André, the Rodin Museum, and the Eiffel Tower, to name a few. It was truly moving to see the growth of artistic interest influence people’s way of living.
After several weeks of constant questioning and intrigue about my European travels from my family and friends, it was finally time to return to work. I immediately applied what I had learned abroad not only in the studio, but also in my everyday life, which came in handy when working on dance shots with up-and-coming professional photographer, Quinn Wharton and collaborating with world-famous choreographer, Yuri Possokhov. I hired Yuri to create a new ballet on me, one that I solely own in perpetuity. Never in my two year career has any choreographer created a piece on me, and to have Yuri, someone who’s known me since I was seven and knows the ins and outs of my technical ability, craft a ballet on me was an amazing experience. He wasn’t reluctant to challenge me and push for something outside my comfort zone. Although there were a few rough days during the creation and rehearsal process of the new piece, the outcome was more than what I could have asked for.
To be young and cultured. What does that exactly mean? It describes someone who chooses to live a lifestyle, exploring new avenues and whose intrigue fuels his/her desire to learn beyond the obvious. I’d say that’s me. I never want to feel satisfied or content with what I’m doing because then I will have reached a point of boredom. Life, to me, is about staying excited. I always like to be challenged and try to surpass my handed struggles, for that makes my successes that much more tasty. This Leonore Annenberg Fellowship has pushed me to experience beyond the expected and stay relative to the happenings of the now. Words cannot describe how much I’ve learned and the amount of gratitude I have in my heart for being given this award and all the opportunities that came along this past year. All I can say is thank you, from the deepest sincerity of my heart.
My final stop on my European journey was Paris, France. What better way to end the most amazing adventure than in a country where ballet originated? Visiting the Opéra Bastille and Palais Garnier, the two stunning home theaters of the world-class Paris Opera Ballet was an amazing experience that I will keep with me forever. To have been in the theatre that shaped and nested countless étoiles of the dance world was truly a special moment for me.