As the water streamed by, we talked and talked. We imagined and dreamt. We created. Like the constant flow of the river rushing by, our ideas just poured out. It is as if we were inspired by the warmth of the sun, driven by power of the water, and captivated by our surroundings. That afternoon on the rocks in the James River, we created Stavna's next chapter. Shannon and I imagined that season's ballet, The Wizard of Oz.
This moment, this part of the process is pure magic. As a principal dancer, a board member, and most importantly... a friend of our amazing artistic director, Shannon McConville, I'm able to contribute each year in this artistic step - imagining the story told through ballet. From there, Shannon's expertise, skill and vision come to life through the music, the costumes, her original choreography and of course, her dedicated dancers.
For me, this experience is where I've always wanted to be… To be a part of something bigger than myself. To contribute to this art - the amazing art of ballet - in a meaningful way. But... I wasn't sure it would ever be a possibility.
In the world of ballet, careers typically end by the age of 30. For me... 30 was my rebirth... when my passion for dance serendipitously started all over again. I walked into a Richmond studio with my 3-year-old daughter, Audrey, looking for a place that may introduce her to the imaginative, disciplined and life changing world of dance. Little did I know, the question they asked would help me rediscover my lost love... "We offer adult ballet. Have you ever danced before?"
Have I ever danced?
How do I answer? Do I tell them I was a ballet major at the University of Georgia? That I've danced at the White House? The Kennedy Center? That I've been dancing since I was seven years old? And I'm still dancing in my kitchen... like every night???
A simple, "Yes. Yes, I've danced before" was all it took to reignite the familiar passion. From there, it's all a blur. I met Shannon. She started Stavna. She asked me to be in the company and help her establish her brand, her non-profit company... to realize her dream. In the midst of it all... I was realizing mine. And just like that, Stavna became my home, my heart, my love.
LOCATION: PONY PASTURE, James River- Richmond VA