Usually at the age of fifteen, teens are just trying to navigate their way through a new school- the coveted high school. They may be finding new friends, becoming interested in new things and maybe even trying to figure out what they want to do for college. For me at 15, I was accepted into a prestigious ballet boarding school and was moving miles away from home. Away from my parents, away from my best friends, away from the comfort of everything I knew. At the time, it was just something that made sense, but looking back it was an experience that not only shaped me as a dancer but as a person.
Growing up training at a fairly vigorous local school, I never thought that I would pursue ballet as a career. “It wasn’t practical”, I would constantly tell myself. But I had little drive in my studies at school. I thought maybe I’d get into fashion or maybe I’d be a forensic scientist. I started attending summer intensives when I was 11 for 3 to five weeks at a time, and still ballet seemed like more of a hobby. One year I decided I only wanted to go away for four weeks, and that’s when I found the Harid Conservatory.
Not knowing what to expect, I hopped on the plane with my dad to Boca Raton, FL, knowing little about what some call the ballet world’s best kept secret. When I got there, I realized many of my classmates were vying for a spot to attend their full-time year-round ballet program. At first I was weary, but by the end of the four weeks I wanted nothing more but to get in.
After the four weeks was up, I waited patiently everyday for an email or phone call letting me know I got in. And when I found out I made it, I couldn’t be happier. For me, this was a pivotal moment in my path other the next couple of years. I finally felt that I was skilled enough to pursue ballet as a career and for the first time I had a vision of what my future was going to look like.
The training that Harid Conservatory provides was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. I remember begging my mom to come home or crying when I wasn’t doing well in my math class, feeling I had nowhere to turn. But having Harid Conservatory on my resume is what helped me get some amazing opportunities in dance and taught me so many life lessons I might have missed in a more “traditional” school environment. Although the ballet training is invaluable, the bond that Harid creates between dancers of all ages, no matter when they graduated is something that I’ve really learned to appreciate.
If I could do it all over again, I would in a heartbeat. The dance community is incredibly small and whenever I meet someone who has been to Harid Conservatory, it gets even smaller. Although I am currently not dancing on a daily basis, I value every minute that I spent at Harid Conservatory and know that it has helped shape me into the dancer, person and ballet teacher I am today. With their incredible training, I am able to step into a studio with a vast knowledge and technique that I can pass on to my students, no matter what their age.