Clearing the Stage for a Big Graduation Number at City Ballet

Hats off to, from left, Abi Stafford (with her son), Ashley Laracey, Emily Kikta, Cameron Dieck, Claire Kretzschmar and Marika Anderson, 2018 college graduates and New York City Ballet dancers.

The funniest dance performed at the New York City Ballet on Sunday afternoon wasn’t the full-length comedy “Coppélia,” but a charming one-off called “What Is Sleep?”

Claire Kretzschmar, perched on a stool and wearing a red beret, recited a litany of daily tasks necessary for a ballet dancer who is juggling school and work, while three fellow City Ballet members contorted their bodies with a twist here and a jerk there. It had a beatnik aura, like Audrey Hepburn in “Funny Face.”

Ms. Kretzschmar intoned: “Read write eat dance read study dance write read dance wake up perform shower eat eat eat read read read read write write write write write. Sleep.”

With a final “What is sleep?,” the dancers — Harrison Coll, Taylor Stanley and Indiana Woodward — crumpled to the stage.

The dance was Ms. Kretzschmar’s idea, and so was the occasion: N.Y.C.B. Graduation — the first of its kind — held onstage at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, where the company performs, to celebrate City Ballet’s recent college graduates. Some of them had missed their school ceremonies because, well, they were dancing.

Few work harder than ballet dancers, whose demanding profession forces them to rely on their bodies and their minds in superhuman terms. So, it’s all the more remarkable when they take on more, like college. Ms. Kretzschmar, 26, who majored in communications and media studies and minored in English at Fordham University, said: “At every meal I would be reading a book for school. After most shows, I would be writing a paper till late at night.”

[Read about the hard work Ms. Kretzschmar puts in daily as a corps dancer.]

Even though they may be sleep deprived, having an intellectual pursuit, dancers say, feeds their dancing. Higher education has especially gripped the City Ballet dancers: This year’s graduation class was seven strong, with six receiving degrees from Fordham — Marika Anderson, Cameron Dieck, Emily Kikta, Ms. Kretzschmar, Ashley Laracey and Abi Stafford — and, one from Colorado State University, where Brittany Pollack is getting an M.B.A. (Ms. Pollack, who earned an undergraduate degree from Fordham in 2013, wasn’t at the ceremony. She was performing in “Carousel.”)

All the same, it’s not for everyone. Dancers take most of their classes on Mondays, their only day off. It took Ms. Stafford eight years to earn her history degree. (Beginning in fall, she will attend St. John’s University School of Law part time.)

What compels ballet dancers to pursue higher education? For some, it’s the reassurance of knowing that there is a next step after dancing. For others, it’s about curiosity and the compulsion to keep learning.

More than half of the members of City Ballet are pursuing or have received undergraduate degrees. “I don’t think it’s frowned upon to cultivate this outside part of you, as perhaps it was in the past,” Ms. Kretzschmar said. “I think it can enhance your work and your life.”

Nearly 80 percent of City Ballet dancers attend Fordham, which is near Lincoln Center. But others are enrolled at New York University, the New School, the School of General Studies at Columbia University and the Leap program at St. Mary’s College. (Gillian Murphy, a principal at American Ballet Theater, graduated from St. Mary’s this week, through Leap. She didn’t make it to commencement.) Financial help is available — $1,000 a semester — courtesy of Dance On, a program developed in 1992 by the City Ballet board member Robert I. Lipp and his wife, Bari.

Three dancers are retiring from the company at the end of this season, with their final Lincoln Center performances on Sunday, the last day of the season. All are college graduates. Mr. Dieck, 30, has a job waiting: He will begin as an investment banking analyst at Credit Suisse. The other two, Likolani Brown and Savannah Lowery, both 33, will pursue medical degrees.

Ms. Lowery is moving to Los Angeles, where she will attend a premedical post-baccalaureate program at Loyola Marymount; her plan, she said, is to take the MCAT exam and apply to medical school next year. Ms. Brown, who turned down Harvard to join City Ballet, will attend New York University on a full scholarship.

Ms. Brown, who went to Columbia, said she found her passion for medicine when she took a biology class. She decided to test her interest by volunteering at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s emergency room. (She has continued to pick up shifts, usually on Mondays.)

“The first day I was in the emergency department, I realized this is what I would love to do after dance,” Ms. Brown said. “It had the same excitement and electricity that I felt in live performance. There was so much passion and creativity. I already felt at home.”

Attending college also attests to a dancer’s drive. Mr. Dieck started studying at the City Ballet-affiliated School of American Ballet at age 9. As a product of those institutions, he feels an enormous responsibility to set an example in the real world.

“I want to show the little boy who is thinking ‘I want to dance, but my dad’s a banker,’ that you can do both,” he said. “If we are successful, other people will take chances on dancers.”

During his job search, he said he met people “who heard ‘ballet dancer’ and immediately wrote me off.” But others said: “Oh my God, you’re going to be perfect for investment banking. You already work the hours.”

Mr. Dieck, as honorary student body president, spoke at the ceremony about the time “spent doing homework with ice packs all over yourself” and the power of choice: “The moment you receive a degree you truly choose to be a dancer,” he said. “You have options.”

There was plenty of whimsy, too: The graduates danced to “We’re All in This Together” from “High School Musical” with, for them, some rare mishaps when it came to moments that should have been in unison. Mr. Dieck shouted from the stage, “We learned this afternoon!”

But for all its quirky moments, the graduation was serious — as much about empowerment as celebration. For Mr. Dieck, this has already begun. “I distinctly remember hearing that certain dancers had graduated and thought: Oh wow, that’s possible,” he said. “And I saw the people who left and didn’t have an option or were kind of unhappy.”

He’s proud of his generation. “You work 80 hours a week, and then you go to the library on Sunday night after a performance,” he said, “but each person has opened a door for someone else.”

In Other News

fake money

Keywords clouds text link 

Dịch vụ seo, Dịch vụ seo nhanh , Thiết kế website ,  máy sấy   thịt bò mỹ  thành lập doanh nghiệp
Visunhomegương trang trí  nội thất  cửa kính cường lực  Vinhomes Grand Park  lắp camera Song Phát thiết kế nhà

Our PBN System:  thiết kế nhà xưởng thiết kế nội thất thiết kế nhà tem chống giả ban nhạ  ốp lưngGiường ngủ triệu gia  Ku bet ku casino buy fake money máy sấy buồn sấy lạnh

mặt nạ  mặt nạ ngủ  Mặt nạ môi mặt nạ bùn mặt nạ kem mặt nạ bột mặt nạ tẩy tế bào chết  mặt nạ đất sét mặt nạ giấy mặt nạ dưỡng mặt nạ đắp mặt  mặt nạ trị mụn
mặt nạ tế bào gốc mặt nạ trị nám tem chống giả  công ty tổ chức sự kiện tổ chức sự kiện
Ku bet ku casino
Sâm tươi hàn quốc trần thạch cao trần thạch cao đẹp

suất ăn công nghiệpcung cấp suất ăn công nghiệp

© 2020 US News. All Rights Reserved.