The ballet is a thing of beauty.  It has played many roles and filled many spaces in my life since my sister, the ballerina, was the family’s star. 

I don’t remember when I first attended a professional ballet performance, nor why or with whom.  Ballet was a gigantic part of my sister’s life and still is so many decades later.  It is part of her daughter’s life and seems to be the lifeblood of her daughter’s daughter.  That side of the family is dancers!

When I was growing up I knew not the ballet except for Linda’s involvement, and the ballet school across Broadway on the second floor over the shoe store. I suppose I was at some time jealous of the attention she received for excelling at dance.  But, she was also the one who brought home great grades and wound up at a top college.

I know that I really came to the ballet in the ‘70s.  I was a subscriber at the New York City Ballet, front row center, third ring.  Never without a date, those tickets were a lure.  It is also where I fell in love with Suzanne Farrell to whom I wrote my first fan letter, ever.  I received two autographed pictures. She was amazing.

I went to see her company with my sister during one visit to Washington DC.  Being in the same “house” as such a star in my life certainly filled me with joy and excitement.

I saw Edward Villella dance and Jacques D’Amboise as well, along with Patricia McBride and so many more great dancers.

Forty years later I met Jacques at his National Dance Institute (NDI, NationalDance.org), a program I supported when I could, bringing dance first to NYC public schools and then schools across the USA and the world.  I brought my sister to a program at NDI where she sat for a photo with Jacques which made her very happy.

And then there was the time I went to The City Center to see the Miami City Ballet and met Edward Villella, securing his autograph for my sister.

But dance in my life didn’t end there.  At 65 at the National Dance Institute (due to their generosity) one of their teaching professionals gave me ballet lessons in one of their studios.  It was wonderful (makes me tearful how much I miss it.)  And then I took a couple of classes at 890 Broadway, a building filled with dance.  I built a barre out of PVC pipe which I still have and a ballet shrine above that barre.

The wonderful people of NDI have kept in touch and my great niece’s adventures in dance bring me joy.  

I still smile at Suzanne’s photo on my wall and Linda still takes classes.

5 thoughts on “Ballet and More

    1. Wow, what a flashback! I took introductory level ballet lessons in a class with Finis Jhung in the early 70s in his second floor studio on the NE corner of Broadway and 78th Street. He was unique and wonderful and had a Zen mindset that set him apart. So glad to learn that he is still alive and hopefully vibrant. Dear Nancy, thank you so much for rekindling those precious memories of a more carefree and simpler time! Be well. Mark

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  1. Filled with nostalgia after reading this. My best friend Susan Shac and I were NYCB regulars and sometimes volunteers . Those were the years of Patty , Suzanne, Karen, and Merrill. Peter Martins and Baryshnikov. Sometimes we would see Jackie Kennedy in her box.. Walking out of the theater, we could start talking to random strangers about how Suzanne had danced that night or what was going on with Gelsey . It was a magical time, and I miss it. I still go with my daughter and granddaughter. That is fun but not the same. Time glissades on.

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