Ballet becomes student’s career ambition

December 3, 2010 — by Kim Tsai

Sophomore Kendall Chicanowicz spends most nights in a leotard spinning around the floor of a Los Gatos Studio. As a ballerina, she must practice constantly to stay strong and limber. Ballet is a dance that requires discipline and precision.

But the 1 and ½-hour practices are not something she regrets. Far from it. Ballet is her passion. Many students do not know what they want to do with their future just yet, but Chicanowicz does. She wants to be a professional ballerina.

“My mom put me in [ballet] when I was 3 years old like how most parents put their children into ballet,” said Chicanowicz. “Most of the girls got sick of going, but I always wanted to go and keep going back.”

Cichanowicz started dancing when her mother decided to have her take a class with various styles in it. During middle school, Cichanowicz decided she wanted to solely dance ballet. Soon after, she entered Los Gatos Ballet.

Earlier this month, Los Gatos Ballet performed “The Nutcracker” six times on Dec. 4 and 5. Cichanowicz played various roles such as “Snow,” “Flower,” “Spanish dancer” and “Mirliton dancer.”

The week of the performance, Cichanowicz had “theater week” and was required to run through the performance from 3:30 to 9 p.m. from Tuesday to Friday.

Even attending rehearsals and classes frequently does not damper Cichanowicz’s love for ballet.

“Sometimes, just like with anything, I get sick of going, but there isn’t anything I really dislike about it,” Cichanowicz said.

Chichanowicz says that there can be a lot of competition between ballerinas, but at Los Gatos Ballet, ballet is more of a passion than a competition.

“I really like the music too,” said Cichanowicz. “You get to let go.”

Cichanowicz hopes to audition for companies such as San Francisco Ballet or New York Ballet.

However, injuries are common within ballet and can derail careers. As a ballerina, Cichanowicz does not have much time to take breaks, and injuries can become chronic.

“Right now I have a problem with my hip, and I used to have problems with my ankle,” said Cichanowicz. “There was this 6-month period where I had to sit out of class twice a week because it hurt so much.”

Cichanowicz often bears the pain and keeps dancing.

“I love ballet because I just forget about everything else while I’m dancing,” said Cichanowicz. “It’s how I let go.”

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