On My Home Stage

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I am Vanessa Van Deusen, a senior here at Waynflete, and I am a ballerina. I started ballet when I was a kid, as most little girls do, but for me it was an obsession rather than a passing phase. Ballet continues to be an obsession of mine and because of this I haven’t had the most orthodox schedule in my time here at Waynflete. Every year I have taken four classes instead of the typical five or six, not participated in sports, performing arts or studio art, and left at 1:00 every single day.

Ever since I was allowed this unusual schedule I have been the source of envy for those who can’t sit through the last block or dread their art requirements, but what I lose in academic school I make up for in extra hours of ballet training. In the beginning of sophomore year I joined Portland Ballet’s CORPS program, a pre professional ballet program for high school students who want to take their training to the next level. In the beginning balancing Waynflete and CORPS was really hard and scary. I had to learn how to deal with missing a math and history class a week but with help from my teachers and amazing advisor Debba Curtis, leaving early to go dance became second nature. The two now seem to coexist perfectly as Waynflete has become comfortable with my need to dance and CORPS requires that I maintain good academic standing.

Strangely enough, though, the two have never intermingled until now. Ballet is a huge part of my identity and is something that I am so happy I finally got to share with Waynflete. Dancing for all of my friends and teachers last Monday was absolutely terrifying. Being on stage knowing that all of the people I love and respect were watching me was a lot of pressure but at the same time it felt very full circle. When I ended the partnering piece from Stars and Stripes I was taken aback at the applause and support in the theater.

That support didn’t end when I walked off stage. For the past week I have experienced teachers and friends telling me how proud they were of me but I was also approached by countless people I had never met expressing the same sentiments. I am not only proud and excited that I was able to show what I have been working at for so many years off to my school but also astounded by the amount of support I have received from both the school as a whole as well as the individuals in it.