Boston Children's Hospital Female Athlete Conference
Throughout my ten year career with the Boston Ballet, I pursued my undergraduate education, majoring in political science.
As difficult as it was to focus on readings and assignments after a 9-hour day of dancing, at no point throughout this pursuit did I ever regret the additional insight and perspective my studies provided me with.
In my last year of dancing and for the grande finale of my degree, I decided to take the critical thinking skills I had been training and focus my honors thesis on leadership trends in major US ballet companies.
I found that in a world that is fueled by women, there is a stark absence of female Artistic Directors, particularly in the best and most prestigious companies according to budget.
This past weekend, myself and two other former dancers presented on this issue at the Female Athlete Conference hosted by Children's Hospital Boston and held at Babson College.
Miriam Rowan and Kate Wilson danced with San Francisco Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet respectively. They are now in the fields of clinical psychology and behavioral health. Working with these two busy and successful women was an inspiration, particularly as I am still in the 'fresh phase' of my transition - relatively speaking.
Our work represented both our academic research and our personal experiences as professional dancers. We presented to a room full of mostly sports audiences, although ballet is now gaining more and more traction as the 'aesthetically athletic' endeavor it truly is.
In addition to being proud of presenting my own work and having it taken to the next level by the specialties of Kate and Miriam, I was proud of the reception and interest it received.
I was also proud of the other presentations on dance, given by former dancers, notably Sasha Gorell's (formerly of Boston Ballet and American Ballet Theater) intervention on Disordered Eating in female ballet dancers.
There seems to be a growing awareness and attention towards ballet and dance and not only what we can do to help improve this field, but also what other industries can learn from it.
As I continue on in the data collection phase of my transition, it is interesting to experiment with ways in which I can grow. Watching and observing the ways in which other retired dancers move on to their next profession is equally fascinating and inspiring.
As mysterious as my future is to me, I maintain a hope that whatever I do ends up having a positive and progressive effect on the arts and dance in particular. In what way I am able to contribute to this story....remains to be seen, but I have a feeling it will be much more circuitous than even I can fathom right now...