A Summer To Remember

Growing up, my summers used to be filled with ballet, a lot of ballet.  It’s normal for most children who are dreaming of becoming a professional dancer to spend their time off from school  fully focused in dance during the summer months.  I went to many wonderful places for ballet summer programs including Washington D.C., Miami, San Francisco, and Martha's Vineyard. While those moments gave me memories and training that is invaluable, I am grateful that now as a professional I am allotted more time to myself during the summer.  Our schedules are so hectic during the year — while I love what I do, sometimes it doesn’t even leave enough time to sleep and eat — that I think we all need this time to rewind.  It allows us to come back to work in a refreshed way for another year.  Now that I am with English National Ballet (before this I was with San Francisco Ballet for four years), I get one month off instead of two.  There were so many different things that I wanted to do during this time off.  It was hard to narrow down my choices, but eventually I did.  

My first flight took me to New York City.  My uncle and his wife just had a baby five months ago, and I could not miss this opportunity to finally spend some time with them all!  I know you are going to think I'm just being biased when I say this, but I promise it's the truth: My uncle Anthony and his wife Amy have the best, smartest, sweetest, most adorable baby in the entire world.  Here just look for yourself!

See, I told you so.


My original plan was to stay in NYC for two weeks, but a pleasant surprise came up.  My mother, who currently lives in California, was going to be in Florida for work at the same time!  She was only there for about a week in total.  She had a few days off at the end of her week though, so  I made an impromptu trip to see her.  It was a short, but wonderful trip!  

I’m proud to report that the reason my mom was in Florida was because she is being promoted in her job! I’m so, so proud of her.  During our time I helped her look for apartments and explore her soon-to-be new home.  


We also took some time to enjoy the pool and beaches while we were there. 

And of course we treated ourselves to a nice little manicure and pedicure

I came back to New York City early Sunday morning.  I grabbed a cab to take me from LaGuardia Airport to Queens.  As soon as I got to my uncle’s home I dropped my stuff off, hopped into his car, and headed to the NY town of Riverhead.  His wife, Amy, has family property there.  They wanted to have a weekend getaway and also give Arya her first taste of being around the ocean! 

The next day we headed to the aquarium and butterfly gardens.  Again, this was a first for Arya.  I was so grateful to be around for a couple of her “firsts”!

While I was thoroughly enjoying my laziness, I knew it wouldn’t be a smart idea if I didn’t do anything physical during my time in NY.  I contacted someone I knew in American Ballet Theater (ABT) to see if the company would allow me to take a couple of classes — it’s not uncommon for professional dancers to take class with other companies around the world simply as a company dancer’s visiting friend, and not for an audition.  I was very grateful when she wrote back telling me that they would let me take two classes during my stay.


It’s always interesting to see how other company dancers work, their environment, and learn from their teachers.  It was also great to see so many familiar faces that I hadn’t seen in a very long time.  I love the fact that the ballet world is such a small world!  While I’ve been very fortunate to dance for many wonderful companies myself, it was still of course a huge honor to be able to take a couple classes with the prestigious American Ballet Theater.

The remainder of my trip was spent enjoying my time with baby Aray, my uncle, his wife, and other parts of the family.  I was happy to see my lovely cousin Isabella and her parents for a little while too!  Isabella is my age and always manages to fill me with new inspiration for life and the possibilities around us.  I hadn’t seen her parents since I was 10 years old, so it was such a pleasure to spend some time with them as well!

My cousin Isabella and I

The first half of my summer has been everything I was hoping it would be -- the perfect balance of family time, rest, and fun.  


Thank you for a wonderful trip New York City!

Madison KeeslerComment