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Mila Gorokhovich
Invitation to the Dance - Reflections

An Influence Towards Dance

by Mila Gorokhovich
August 16, 2000

An Influence Towards Dance

Mila Gorokhovich

August 16, 2000

The career of every dancer begins with an inspiration. It can be a parent, teacher, a friend, or media, to name a few. In the summer of 1997, my own passion for dance was aroused with an extraordinary performance of a Ravel-mixed Program, danced by the Royal Ballet at the Metropolitan Opera House located in Lincoln Center, New York City. Maurice Ravel is a world-famous French composer whose spectacular music includes the well-known Bolero. The Royal Ballet performed several dances to different scores composed by Ravel.

I was thirteen years old at the time and had been taking ballet lessons for only four years. Until that evening, the thought of considering ballet as a profession had never entered my mind. The only reason that I began taking classes seven years ago was because my mother wanted to correct my posture. I was the tallest in my class and although I wasn't particularly chubby, I did not have a small build.

The amazing aura and overall performance of the Royal Ballet was the most influential event of my youth. The dancer who intrigued me the most was soloist Sarah Wildor. She danced the part of Chloe in 'Daphnis and Chloe'. Her line, fluidity in movement and remarkable musicality reached out to the audience and struck me in amazement. She really made me believe that she was Chloe, the young maiden stolen away by pirates.

I recall myself thinking, "This is what I want to do. I want to be up on that stage, taking part in that company and have the chance to show myself to the world … through ballet." I was so astounded by Ms. Wildor's performance that afterwards, I went backstage to wait until she would come out so that I might congratulate her and tell her how wonderfully she danced. I also hoped that she would give me a pair of her pointe shoes. To my delight, she appeared, looking beautiful. She gladly signed a pair of her shoes and handed them to me as I thanked her. I held the small shoes in my hand and felt a new energy coming to me from them. I had never felt so much emotion come over me as I did then. I felt an intense will to dance and to breath-take others with my movement, just as Ms. Wildor did. I gazed at the tiny size 4 1/2 shoes with fondness and anxiety to try them on as soon as I arrived home. But of course, they could not match to my 9 1/2 regular size foot.

From that night, I realized, "My goal is to get accepted into the Royal Ballet School in England." It developed into my dream and all my hopes became centered towards achieving it.

I became very serious and dedicated to ballet and tried to do all I could to be ready to audition for the school once I turn sixteen. However, alongside daily ballet classes, I had to juggle piano and maintain above average grades in school. Eventually, I had to find means of helping my parents pay for all my classes. This turned into a bit of an obstacle when I decided that I would leave school early in order to take private and open classes from the teacher who agreed to train me, Yehuda Maor. Because he taught in Manhattan, it was an even greater challenge for me, since I reside about 1 1/2 hours from the studio. Luckily, I received scholarships from my high school to attend the summer programs. The yearning and desire to be a part of the Royal Ballet had triggered me to cope and deal with the hardships of becoming a dancer, including that of weight. That one performance changed my mentality and youth in all ways possible.

In August of 1997, I was fortunate enough to visit England and the Royal Ballet School with my parents. Although at the time, the Royal Opera House was being restored, the huge building astounded me and I was immediately attracted to Convent Garden. Who wouldn't be? I think any young dancer would give anything to perform in such a fabulous hall.

To my disappointment, both the upper and lower schools were being renovated for the fall, but even so we were allowed to go inside the lower school, AKA White Lodge. It was amazing to go into the studios and look at the portraits of people such as Ninette de Valois and Fredrick Ashton. I felt strong energy in the older studios. The presence of those world-famous artists who choreographed, taught and danced in that very place. Ultimately, I fell in love with the entire place and felt very much at home there.

Even though I had never made it into the Royal Ballet School, I never regret all that I had done in attempts to make it happen. I taught myself to be determined and to have stamina. I also learned how to be serious about taking corrections from stern teachers. The want to accomplish something as great as getting accepted into such a prestigious school was my one constant inspiration and I am thankful for that because it created the person that I am today.

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