Sunday, September 14, 2014

What happened to A Very Young Dancer, Stephanie?

I've been watching the online episodes of Strictly Ballet on Teen Vogue.  I've never been a dancer (my Beijing opera teacher was particularly horrified by the clumsy way I move), but something about their culture fascinates me.  I appreciate how ballet is art come to life, and dancers' relentless drive to make their bodies do what they want.  In this vain, I loved the documentary about ballet students, First Position (2012) and the controversial Oscar winner, Black Swan (2010).

My first foray into the world of ballet came by way of Jill Krementz's photo essay book, A Very Young Dancer (1976).  The book follows Stephanie, a student at the School of American Ballet, as she practices and performs as Marie in The Nutcracker.  I repeatedly signed out the over-sized book from my school library and escaped into the romantic world of ballet in high energy New York City.  I always wondered what happened to Stephanie as an adult.

The New York Times tracked down Stephanie in 2011.  The former ballet student, now living in Wyoming, gave a candid interview about what followed A Very Young Dancer.  The article is a must-read for fans of Jill Krementz's photo essay book.

Photos via The New York Times (Lynn Donaldson), Delightful Children's Books, and Teen Vogue