We:30 Share & Tell: Kathleen brings her passion for ballet

Every Wednesday at 3:30 we get together to celebrate an employee who exemplifies our core values to inspire, share, evolve, exceed and be 100% jerk-free. Our Share and Tell edition invites an employee to share something that inspires them and has a unique story. This week Kathleen brings her passion for ballet!

Since I was a toddler in a tutu, dance has been my life. When I was about 13 years old, I transitioned from dancing jazz, tab, lyrical, hip hop, and ballet, to exclusively dancing ballet. I joined the Kansas City Ballet and began dancing competitively with the company. By the age of 14, I had rehearsals for two hours before school and two hours after.  While many little girls found ballet to be boring, I found it liberating and artful. Throughout my dance career, I performed in the Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, Alice in Wonderland, Giselle, and many more classic numbers. 

People have always found my passion for ballet contradicting to my dry sense of humor and affinity for black clothing, but I have never seen it as a girly activity. To me, it is the strongest and most powerful way to translate a message; it can ignite all kinds of emotions ranging from sorrow to anger to playfulness. At one point, my entire life was enveloped by my commitment to the dance. Even today, almost every song I hear I can’t help but mentally choreograph a full dance number in my head to the music. 

As with most competitive sports, ballet started becoming a lifestyle rather than just an after school activity, and my passion dwindled as the pressure intensified, mentally and physically. The competition was fierce and everyone I was dancing with wanted to pursue ballet as their career, while I saw myself taking a different route. My grades in school became my priority once I was settled in college, and I decided to quit dancing competitively. However, my love and admiration for the art remains. 

Today, I continue to pursue my lifelong love of dance by co-choreographing and coaching younger dancers in the Nutcracker and other seasonal performances. I also take classes such as Bar Method and Ballet Beautiful to maintain my muscle memory and technique. Although I no longer actively compete as a ballerina, the history, culture, and art of ballet is something I will continue to follow and will be passionate about for the rest of my life. 

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