Excerpt from 25 Transitions © 2011 Dancer Transition Resource Centre. Photo by Nik Schötzl.
Birthplace: Magnolia, Arkansas
Principle Training: Ballet Arkansas Academy, North Carolina School of the Arts, Joffrey Ballet
Danced with: Joffrey Ballet II, Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theater, the National Ballet of Canada, Stuttgart Ballet
Retrained in: Artistic Direction
Currently: Artistic Director of Ballet Augsburg in Augsburg, Germany
I have always considered myself fortunate. Professionally, I have had the luxury of a successful and fulfilling dance career, followed by an equally successful transition, in which the DTRC played a pivotal role.
I had already developed the strong desire to eventually lead a company, early in my dance career. This impulse came partly from my own experience on stage, and my growing wish to take on an even larger role as an advocate for dance so that the artform could reach and influence generations of young people. I was also incredibly motivated by two brilliant artistic directors with whom I had the pleasure of working – Robert Joffrey and Reid Anderson. In their long tenures, both pioneered new models by which a modern company could thrive under an engaging and inspirational director.
Unfortunately, the path from dancer to artistic director is not marked by formalized schooling, prescribed courses or training programs. I improvised, gathering as much experience as I could by serving as the company’s speaker and dancers’ board representative, familiarizing myself with behind-the-scenes administrative and artistic operations, planning my own artistic events, and yes, even taking some “academic” courses. But when I realized that the time had come to retire as a performer, I was still unsure what my next step would be.
I applied for and received a grant from the DTRC that allowed me to apprentice as a Ballet Master in Stuttgart for a season, a move I would not have been able to undertake, financially, without assistance. The year I spent working on the other side of the foot-lights was the tipping point, I believe. A position as Chief Ballet Master in Nuremberg followed, and shortly after, I finally realized my ultimate dream. In 2007, I was appointed Artistic Director of Ballet Augsburg, a small ensemble in Southern Germany intent on building a name for itself through the integrity of the artists, productions, and performances.
I am thankful that the DTRC was there to support me when I needed it. Here’s to another 25 years of successful transitions and the many other ways that the DTRC has been changing dancers’ lives for the better!
Helping dancers make necessary transitions into, within, and from professional performing careers since 1985.