Stairway to Paradise

There is a ballet called Who Cares? that holds a special place in my heart. It pairs two of my favorite artists- choreographer George Balanchine and composer George Gershwin. I first learned the Stairway to Paradise solo as a teen studying at the School of American Ballet in New York City. Of all the variations we learned that summer, it was by far my favorite.

Years later, in the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s school I was cast to dance that solo.

Even more years later at The Washington Ballet I was cast to dance that solo. It seems many people thought it was a good fit for me.

Now, I loved the part I had, but every dancer has parts that got away. There is always that role or piece that you longed to perform, but never got the chance to. For me it was The Man I Love pas de deux, also from Who Cares? The nuance of the dance so perfectly matches that enchanting song and I would have given anything to perform it.

Why am I writing about this now? Well this week I dreamt that a former rehearsal coach of mine, Jeff Edwards, called me and said I was needed to perform The Man I Love at a gala event. To clarify, I am still teaching ballet and I am now taking class once a week, but I haven’t performed in a decade. In typical unrealistic dream fashion they needed me to get there to rehearse it at that very moment. I said I would be there as soon as I could, but that being a breastfeeding mom I needed to pump first. Gotta love dreams! Well, I dropped everything, pumped, and rushed over and when I got to the rehearsal studio they said I was too late. Rats!

This is the crazy part . . . Yesterday my friend offered me tickets to see the broadway tour of An American in Paris– a ballet heavy show with a score by the Gershwins. As I sat in the theater last night listening to Stairway to Paradise, The Man I Love, and all of the other gorgeous songs, I was truly in my happy place.

I’m not sure why that music re-entered my life this week, but I’m so glad it did! I am always reminding my students that art exists to inspire us. Thank you universe for throwing these memories and art my way this week! I feel inspired and refreshed!

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