Sitting on the red velvet seats at the stunning Capitol Theater in Salt Lake City, I was so ready to see the ballet Swan Lake for the first time. Not only was I watching one of my favorite ballets, none other than Beckanne Sisk herself was performing, a principal with Ballet West Academy and a gorgeous dancer! Swan Lake is a timeless love story that mixes magic, tragedy, and romance all into four acts. It features Prince Siegfried and a lovely swan princess named Odette. Under the spell of a sorcerer, Odette spends her days as a swan swimming in a lake of tears and her nights in her beautiful human form. The couple quickly falls in love. But now the sorcerer has more tricks to play. This brings his daughter Odile into the picture. Confusion, forgiveness, and a happy ending with Siefried and Odette together forever round off the ballet. A single prima ballerina (a principal like Beckanne) plays both Odette and Odile. It is one of the most challenging roles a dancer can take on in her career.

When I saw Beckanne performing Odette and Odile, there was one single moment in time that has forever left an impact on my mind. To be completely honest, I don’t remember much from the three hour ballet! Going into it I thought the legendary 32 fouettes and wild turning would stick in my mind or the high controlled extensions of her legs, but in the end it was a seemingly simple movement that stuck with me. It was towards the end of the ballet and Beckanne was down-stage in the right corner and was turning around to run to her prince. She fearlessly placed her toe and went up into a fourth pique arabesque rounding the corner as she floated. Though this step may look quite simple, the years of training, the blood, sweat, and tears that go into making simple steps like this look easy is so great! It seems like there are over a hundred things to be thinking about when doing a pique arabesque, but Beckanne’s mind seemed to be free in that second. The way she held onto that moment and the power within the music, it was like a connection of everything coming together at the same time. I breathed with her. I felt suspended in time. I felt alive! I wanted to stay there forever and capture that feeling to put it in a bottle! In a way, that is just what my mind did. When I think back on this moment, I can actually feel what I felt then now.

I’m writing about this today because I wanted to share how a seemingly simple movement can be huge for someone! I have dedicated my life to ballet since I was 14. It is hard and it is painful, but nothing else makes me feel like how I feel when I’m in ballet class or performing something I’ve worked hard for. I’ve still got a ways to go, and you never stop working or improving. But since my experience here with Beckanne Sisk as Odette, I want to put in the work it takes to be that good so that I can reach someone’s soul the way she touched mine. This is the beauty of ballet, and the reason we sacrifice so much to train. You need to be that good first in order to really affect someone. Think about any skills! It could be baking, sports, painting, music, etc. If you really want to leave an impact, you first have to put in the time it takes to be phenomenal then continue finessing from there. My passion is ballet, but it has become more than that to me. I’ve made these dreams become reality and that is continuously my goal.

I encourage you to be passionate and to stick to something you love! It could even be multiple things. But remember that you won’t love it everyday, and sometimes things can get unbearably hard! But never forget why you started in the first place. Beckanne Sisk reminded me that night of why I love ballet, because you can reach people’s spirits. It’s a different kind of communication rather than words, so it hits differently. It’s a language that I’ve spent years learning yet ironically you don’t have to know a thing about it to feel what Beckanne made me feel. Thank you for letting me share my humanities moment with you today.

– Becky Krusi (Senior at Mountain Heights Academy; Dance Student at Professional Training Division at Ballet West Academy)