En Pointe: How Ballet Me Who I Am Today

What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time?

The final notes of Tchaikovsky’s overture fade. The curtain creeps upward, revealing rows of watching eyes—toddlers in tutus and married couples on date night—all gathered for the same purpose. I begin shaking fake presents and twirling across the stage to embody Clara, the protagonist of The Nutcracker.

The Nutcracker, complete with oversized mice and a Sugar Plum Fairy, encapsulates my passion for dance. In this annual Christmas ballet, dancers from across Missoula come together to create something magical. When I perform roles like Clara and Rose Queen, I forge a connection between myself and the audience. For a few hours, they transcend their daily experience and dive into a world separate from their own. In transporting them, I am granted the platform to do what I love most: dance.

I fell in love with tulle and satin pointe shoes at the age of three, but I wasn’t born a ballet prodigy. I have poor balance, my pelvis tips backward, and for many years, I couldn’t manage to skip. But I do have passion. This passion is far more meaningful than my ability to do triple pirouettes en pointe.

As I’ve aged, my love for dance has transcended the superficial. Dance has become a teacher of self-discipline. The classes I take and the...

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