In June of 2015, I had the amazing opportunity to go to New York City and watch the Royal Ballet on their 2015 US Tour.
Back in February of that year, I saw this article on Pointe Magazine saying that the company will go to New York for the first time in 11 years.
My heart sped up and I called my mom at her office saying, "we CAN'T miss this!" After many financial sacrifices and last-minute planning, I finally took a ride to Miami’s Airport and headed to the city that doesn’t sleep.
I got so excited to explore Manhattan for the first time!
The first two days, I walked miles and miles, discovering all the different corners, historical places, and of course, all the art in the streets. With simple Subway rides, I saw the Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 Memorial, Wall Street, Broadway, Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square, the ballet stores, The Rockefeller Center, and finally, the Lincoln Center.
I went to Lincoln Center every day, and never got tired of it. The first thing I saw on the side of the Koch Theater was this huge poster of Marianela Nuñez and Federico Bonelli dancing Christopher Wheeldon’s Aeternum (can you imagine my face at this moment?). Minutes, after I take selfies at the Koch Theater and The Met, Liam Scarlett (artist and brilliant choreographer of the company) comes out of the theater's doors. I ran and asked for a photo right away. He was very impressed and happily accepted to take a photo.
Saturday arrived: the day of the performance. I could not be more excited for the night to come. At the theater, each important ballet figure that I found was humble, and every encounter was beautiful. What impressed me the most was that they were very surprised that a young person like me (I was 17) knew their names and approached them.
No one else recognized them. Or was it me, the crazy one, running around the theater?
The first one I saw that evening was Mr. Peter Martins, Master in Chief of The New York City Ballet. Next ones were Dame Monica Mason (former Principal and Artistic Director of the Royal Ballet), Justin Peck (soloist and resident choreographer for New York City Ballet), Patricia Delgado (Former principal dancer with Miami City Ballet), Christopher Wheeldon (brilliant choreographer for The Royal and many other companies), and Mr. Kevin O’Hare, Royal Ballet's Artistic Director (but never caught him for a photo). But the best ones were at the stage door: Carlos Acosta and Steven McRae.
The performance blew my mind. I was glad I could go to New York and watch the mixed program because it was not a full-length ballet, but many small pieces in which I had the opportunity to watch lots of dancers!
When Steven appeared on stage, tears came to my eyes. I could not believe I was finally watching him dance, which I had dreamt of doing ever since I knew about him. After the performance, I saw him at the stage door. When he signed my book (Dancer in the Fast Lane by Andrej Upenski) and he saw me crying, he approached us (my mom and me) and we talked for what it seemed an eternity.
It was an incredible feeling of inspiration but at the same time, shocking. Knowing that your idol is there in front of your eyes, talking about your future, and giving advice was the best feeling in the world.