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The Casual Ballet Student: A Journey of Rediscovery

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By Kate Feinberg Robins My rediscovery of ballet after retiring from a pre-professional performance career at age 18 has been gradual, to say the least. During my last couple years of high school, I was dancing lead roles with the Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet and preparing to audition for professional companies, or to continue my training at professional schools if I wasn’t yet good enough to be hired. At 5’ 1”, good enough to be hired meant good enough to be a soloist. No one would hire a dancer my height for the corps. I auditioned for American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company, and unsurprisingly, didn’t make it. I made the second cut at Julliard, but didn’t quite get in. I finished high school prepared to enter Butler University’s ballet program on a merit scholarship. There I would stay, perfecting my skills until I could finally get paid to do what I loved—or so I thought. But during that summer between high school and college, I discovered that I no longer loved it enough to gi