If you asked me on this day a year ago where I would be on the upcoming Sunday, the following week, the 10th of October or even on the 6th of March the following year, I would have told you, without a doubt, Iowa City at the University of Iowa. I would be either in my dorm room, the studio or in a classroom working on both a mathematics and a dance degree. A year can change a lot. A day can change a lot. A moment can change everything!
A year ago, today, my life took what I would definitely call the greatest turn thus far!
Flashback to Thursday, August 14th, 2014:
I had just spent about a week discussing details with some of my greatest mentors and family members trying to figure out if I could actually make following my dreams a reality. That afternoon, Thursday, August 14th was spent dancing on a local stage at our weekly ‘Thursday’s on First’ event. I was dancing at what I feel has been my best thus far and fully enjoyed myself that day not knowing what news was to come. I had the usual pre-performance jitters and post-performance happiness!
Once the performance was over, I stepped off the stage and went over to my teachers for the usual hugs and ‘good jobs’ and ‘thank yous’ for the opportunities given over the past couple of weeks. They then turned to me and said “Unfortunately Ashley, we have some bad news…” *insert my sad face here* “We’ve heard back and you have the opportunity to head up to Duluth on Monday and ‘audition’ to train with the company this season!” *insert completely changed face here included with about a million ‘thank yous’ and hugs*
From that life changing (is that taking it too far??) moment forward my life took a completely different path. Sunday, August 17th, instead of moving by myself into Iowa’s honors dorm, I traveled up to Duluth for the first time accompanied by my mom. The following week I was expecting to attend a pre-freshman-year Honors Program. Instead, I spent the week in rainy Duluth auditioning to train with the Minnesota Ballet for the 2014-2015 season. The week after that instead of starting my first week of official classes at the University of Iowa I spent my week reevaluating what I had spent the last couple of weeks packing, to prepare for an apartment instead of a teeny tiny dorm room. By October 10th I had been in my first apartment on my own for just over a month, taking two ballet classes almost every day, spending almost 12 hours in the studio daily and rehearsing for my first show as a corps de ballet member of a professional company: “The Nutcracker.” When March 6th of this year rolled around I had moved, again, to Bloomington, to be an official member of my first ballet company, and we were preparing for “Swan Lake”, my first ballet as a member of a company.
A year ago, I thought that today I would be preparing for my sophomore year of college, but instead I am so much happier preparing for my 1st full season with Continental Ballet Company and my first year teaching here. I can not thank everyone who has supported me, enough, because I know that I am happier on the path I am on now. Without all of you I know that I wouldn’t have made it this far on my ballet journey. I am blessed on what all I have experienced this past year, and how much I have learned and grown. I have made some absolutely amazing friends and I know that these are friendships that will last a lifetime. A moment can change everything, and luckily for me it was for the better, 110% ❤