Stepping onto the sidewalk in front of the Boston University Dorms, I was hit by a wave of humidity and felt my skin instantly prickle. After a week of touring colleges and endless driving, I had finally arrived at my destination: Boston. Back in February, I had attended an audition for Boston Ballet’s summer program, and I couldn’t have felt more nervous when I received the letter of my admission. This would be my first time away from home, a chance to experience the outside of what we call the “Bubble”.
My brother, after hauling the suitcases from the car, walked with my mother and me to the registration tables to sign-in. There were year-round students outside of the building with large carts to help newcomers get their luggage to their bedrooms, and they were all wearing light-blue shirts that said “SDP (Summer Dance Program)-2015,” which everyone all received later. The three of us went up to my room, and observed that one of my roommates was already there. After unpacking my things, we went for a final meal before my mother and my brother had to catch their plane back to Irvine. It bothered me that this time, I wouldn’t be with them.
A short hug at my dorm room, and then they were gone. I had never felt so stranded in my life.
Luckily, my second roommate came from a New York year-round ballet program, and she had many friends that came along with her to Boston Ballet. In a short time, I had established a number of friends, and was contented to watch them chatter and laugh during our first dinner at the Boston University cafeteria.
Over five weeks, I experienced a new style of ballet different from my Russian ballet education: Balanchine. Based off of the expansiveness and novelty of America when he first arrived, George Balanchine choreographed many different ballets and movements, pioneered different styles of artistry and dance, and founded New York City Ballet. I felt so excited to be a part of something so foreign in my home dance studio, and quickly fit into the style. One dance that my class learned was the quartet movement in Balanchine’s “Diamonds,” a fast-paced, exhilarating piece of work. Professional dancers, principals, directors, and former professionals taught our classes, exposing me to a variety of lessons and experiences.
What truly astonished me was the sheer simplicity in making friends. Once, I even made a friend in the laundry room, where someone helped me with my laundry detergent. I felt so welcomed, and after many excursions such as the Dinner Dance Cruise and the Museum of Fine Arts, I never wanted to leave Boston. I hope someday I can go back and see all of my newfound friends again.