Written by Aaryanna Yang, Apprentice

If you asked me what it meant to be resilient a few years ago, I would have explained that in 2017, it snowed so unexpectedly that one of the cast members for The Nutcracker couldn’t leave her driveway, and the opening show was in a few short hours. The company I was with at the time had to figure out how to restage with one less party parent…until they realized I could fill in her spot. I was rushed to learn the opening, the parent’s dance, and even a staged dinner scene all in less than an hour. The wardrobe team found a spare party dress that barley fit me, and I was whisked to the stage. Luckily, I managed to make it through the whole show without missing any steps or cues. I never had to perform party parent again, but I would do it all again if it meant I could be on stage tomorrow with a live audience.

I thought resilience was getting through something hard, like taking on a new role hours before a show, but it is more than overcoming a tough situation; it’s about coming out on the other side and learning from those times to become stronger. I see it in dancer’s training every day when we review corrections or go over the technique of a step that could improve. With these current events, I am reminded of what resilience is when I log into Ballet San Antonio’s zoom company class and watch my peers set up their dining room to become a temporary studio. Some of them have to usher out their pets, but no matter what, we all stand up and work like we would any other day. As the men strengthen the landing of their jumps and women rise en pointe, I am reminded of all the little things we do daily, even at home or under lockdown. We use our therabands to warm up our ankles, or go through a routine of stretches, and I also drink a cup of coffee before every class. It’s not easy to take company class over zoom but my peers are committed to improving themselves during this time. Their persistence and determination to work past our current difficulties and come out on the other side have shown me what true resilience is.

Through the times we endure now, dancers all over are not letting this pandemic put our lives or our love for dance on hold. It’s not easy to perform for an audience without a stage, but here at Ballet San Antonio, we have found a way to keep our love for the art alive. Because it’s not just the dancers who want to dance. Our supporters, communities, and families need it too. We aren’t working just to stay busy; we’re working to share our dedication and joy of dance with San Antonio when it’s needed the most. We thought we were strong because of our endurance on stage, but our resilience comes from the ability to perform without a stage.

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