I wanted nothing more than to become a Prima Ballerina in a National company.
I had followed a dream that I trained my whole life for. After years of blood (literally,) sweat, and tears, I finally made it to professional dancer status with a real ballet company.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t what I expected.
I was miserable. I had this romantic idea of what it was to be like in a ballet company as a corps de ballet member. And it was definitely nothing like that.
Several weeks of rehearsals, up to 40 hours each week, to prepare for a handful of measly performances. Weekly weight notices to “lose five pounds,” and daily self-loathing of that ugly duckling in the mirror. Add to that the drama of being the first-born, leaving home to run off to Las Vegas of all places to join a ballet company. Dumb boy stuff, you know — the typical first years as a young adult who has just moved away from home, navigating life, career and love without a compass. Or at least a poor model of what life “should” be like.
I spent nearly three miserable seasons with the company. They would throw me a soloist understudy spot, every once in a while. But I had greater dreams. I wanted to be in the spotlight. Whatever it took.
It wasn’t until my husband at the time went off to perform in Les Folies Bergere at the Tropicana that something shifted. And then I got my chance to audition for the largest Showgirl spectacle in Las Vegas — Donn Arden’s Jubilee!
I was hired on the spot.
I became a world-famous Bluebell dancer, and was introduced to an incredible world of glamour and sparkles. I was wearing costumes every night that cost thousands of dollars, designed by Bob Mackie and Pete Menefee. Really, I was living a dream. I had transformed from an ugly duckling who despised her body, full of womanly curves and sensuality, unsuitable to be a ballet dancer to a graceful glamazon who loved her body and embodied her sensual inner goddess every night.
I spent the next four years, eyes on the spotlight, until one day, I got my own principal dancer contract. I had made it. I was finally one of the lead dancers in the largest show ever produced in Las Vegas.
And then one day, I was done.