This week is theatre week. On Thursday, I will perform my last Fall Season opening night. I feel that things will really begin to snowball from then on.
This week, I had the opportunity to watch a rehearsal of a young couple who will be dancing a pas de deux in the show. I found myself getting a bit teary-eyed. I know I've spoken about my emotions while watching my colleagues from my "sense of pride" point of view, but his time was different. I found myself thinking about how we as artists "pass the torch" onto the younger artists. It is humbling to think how fast my seasons have gone by. I remember being the age these two dancers are and doing my first principal roles. It was such a surreal experience. I didn't know if I deserved the opportunities-I just did my best. I was too naive to be nervous or worry what other dancers thought of my getting cast over them at such an early age.
Sometimes when given these early chances, dancers can begin to feel a sense of entitlement-that they should always get these parts from then on, and there is no guarantee that this will be the case. I have to say, the roles I have danced I've never taken for granted. I've been happy when they've come along, and above all, I know I've been lucky.
I hope that young dancers today are able to truly treasure their opportunities. This career really feels like a flash in the pan. I still feel nineteen years old. I can still remember listening to the rehearsal schedule hot line and hearing that I had been scheduled to rehearse my first pas de deux. I still get chills when I think back to that. I wouldn't trade that memory for anything.
I believe it is important as I move forward to encourage the younger dancers to cherish these moments. I want them to be able to have the fulfillment in their careers that I have had. I want them to be able to look with pride down at the younger dancers that will someday take their places. One can be bitter or threatened by this replacement, or one can see it as part of the natural progression of life in this field.
Now that I am looking at it this way, I am even more proud to be a part of this tradition.