My Story… At a young age my parents signed me up for sports like gymnastics and swimming, but neither bore a passion like ballet did later. Then, my parents signed me up at a local studio for tap, jazz, and ballet which I wasn’t excited about. My mom had a deal with me that if I took ballet I could take all the other classes. She believed, “ballet is the foundation of it all.” I remember fighting with my mom on the way to ballet class, expressing I didn’t want to go.
While browsing the Internet one day, I impulsively searched for prestigious ballet schools in the area and San Jose Cleveland Ballet (Ballet San Jose) came up. As I browsed through the website I saw a classmate of mine on there and she was beautiful. The next day at school I spoke with her, and was so inspired by her that I begged my parents to register me at the ballet school. My mom was thrilled, conceded my request and at 13 years old I began my professional training.
During the 5 years at Ballet San Jose I struggled to play catch up with the girls my age that were already in advanced levels. As time went on, my passion, persistence, and ballet ability grew. I then progressed rapidly through the levels and soon had a new dream of attending a Russian school called the Universal Ballet Academy (Kirov Academy) in Washington, D.C. I auditioned and was accepted at 15 years old into their summer program and then the year round program. During the summer program and into the year round program I fought once again to play catch up to become the ballerina I dreamed of. At one point I hit the bottom and no longer believed ballet was a talent I possessed. Through teachers and various classmates I heard negative upon negative of why I was not meant to be a professional ballet dancer. I felt my dream and really my heart fly out of the window to never return. I then turned my back on ballet and left the school year early to pursue other passions.
I came back home and began to attend school, hangout with friends, and do the “normal” high school thing. Upon graduating my boyfriend (now husband) encouraged me to take dance at a local junior college I was attending. After I fought with him and wondered why he suggested this I thought I would give it a try. Slowly but surely my passion and confidence that I could dance began. At this time I never really thought I could become a professional ballerina, but I could definitely see again that dance was a gift from my Heavenly Father that I should not throw away.
The years passed and I continued to dance in shows at a local ballet school and church but would have to take long breaks of dancing due to my full time job. My heart began to hunger to dance again and this time it was something deeper. My desire to help other dancers realize that they could dance, no matter what others may have said, grew. I read a book called Dance: God’s Holy Purpose by Dr. Ann Stevenson that completely changed how I viewed dance and it’s purpose. I came to a place where I realized that God has a BIGGER purpose for dancers than just perfect technique in Swan Lake. One evening my mentor and good friend, Lori Delisle, heard me talking about this and suggested I start a dance group that worships the Lord. The Lord had been working on my heart and now after this confirmation from Lori I quickly launched Dance Movement in April 2011.
Months after starting Dance Movement a fellow dancer mentioned an audition for a local ballet company coming up. She encouraged me to audition and assured me that I had “more miles left on my car.” After a lot of encouragement I stepped out and auditioned. During the waiting process I definitely doubted I would be offered anything, but the Lord kept stretching me to dream bigger than my mind could even believe. The next week I received an email that I not only was offered a position in the company but the lead roll as Clara in “The Nutcracker”. I was in complete shock and knew that it was His hand leading me. Since then the Lord has led me to ABT’s Collegiate Program in New York and continuing my professional ballet career at Peninsula Ballet Theatre in San Mateo and Napoles Ballet in San Francisco.
My prayer and hope through Dance Movement is to bring HIS purpose of dance back to its original state on earth… to purely worship Him and bring Him glory. If the Lord has put the desire of dance in your heart, don’t hold back. It does not matter what you look like, what others have said, what your dance preference is, or your training but that He has called you to worship Him through dance.