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I was one of those kids who spent almost all after-school hours in dance classes and traveling on weekends to competitions — I knew how to apply full stage makeup before I was shopping in the juniors' department. I've always been a dancer. But, a ballerina I am not. When the time came to try balancing en pointe, I was more excited for the shiny, pink shoes and learning how to sew on my satin laces than actually pirouetting on a wooden toe box. I quickly returned my feet to their preferred contact with the floor, and I've been enjoying a pas de deux only as an audience member ever since.
But, last week — and many years down the line — I had a second chance: my big moment dancing with the New York City Ballet. Giddily excited and nervous I'd probably pull a muscle, I arrived at Lincoln Center early in the morning, walked the hallways covered with stills from George Balanchine ballets, and made my way to the rehearsal-studio space. Thankfully, toe shoes were not required. But, I was equipped with one special tool: the Canon EOS Rebel SL1.
Pegged as the world’s smallest and lightest DSLR camera, the new Canon beaut was my sidekick for the day — and my inevitable claim to fame. As in, "Yes, I did dance with prima ballerinas. And, yes, I can prove it, too."
Once in front of the big mirrors, the group and I — along with my other sidekick for the day, our editorial assistant, Chloe — were led by principal dancers Abi Stafford, Daniel Ulbricht, and Jared Angle. Strong, graceful, and beautiful, our trio of teachers led us through several eight counts from the Russian Dance of the The Nutcracker. Thankfully, muscle memory served me well, and the steps were pretty simple to pick up. But, by far my favorite part of the class was watching Stafford and Angle — one of NYCB's couplings of Sugar Plum Fairy and her cavalier — demonstrated their pas de deux right before us. So, though we had the cameras to try and snap the choreographed picture-perfect shapes the twosome hit, I was way too wrapped up in their movements to concentrate on my photography skills.
But, soon enough, our class was done, and I hung up my leg warmers and returned to my life as an editor. Not before catching a full performance of The Nutcracker at the David Koch Theater, though. If you've never seen a Christmas tree magically "grow" though a stage's ceiling while Tchaikovsky plays in the background, well, you're simply missing out. Check out more snaps from my dream-come-true day, ahead.