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Ana Sophia Scheller– Principal dancer NYC Ballet

Dreaming Big, Dancing Boldly

I was born in Buenos Aires Argentina, and began to dance at the age of six. Since after school my brothers would go to soccer practice, my mom enrolled me into ballet. I was so lucky to have Nancy Bocca (Julio Bocca’s mom) every year for ballet exams. After one of those exams, she told my mom that I had very nice qualities and facility to dance professionally. It was then that I started taking ballet class every day with Katty Gallo and Raul Candal to get ready to audition for the Instituto Superior del Teatro Colon, which is in the biggest theater in Argentina. It was a dream to be accepted into this school. After auditioning, the dream came true and there I trained for three years with a mixture of French and Russian style teaching. In those years at the school, I was able to dance in some productions with the Company of the Teatro Colon. It was amazing to dance in that theater! Since I was only 12 years old, I knew that another dream would be to dance in that theater as a professional dancer.

When I was 13 years old, I was accepted into the School of American Ballet ( SABthe official school of New York City Ballet) in New York. At SAB, I trained in the Balanchine style for almost four years. It was exciting to try a new way of dancing. I was very far from home and the style of ballet was completely different from everything I had learned, but doing this and experiencing new things helped my dream grow. Now, I dreamed of dancing in New York! When I was done with ballet school at 16, I was invited to join the ABT Studio Company at American Ballet Theater. After one year with ABT Studio Company, I joined New York City Ballet. I was so excited when I got offered a job with the company.

I realize now, that on my journey from a small school to the biggest stages in the world, I received a versatility of training that allowed me to be a bold dancer. I’ve also seen and met many people who’ve helped me to make my dancing my own, so I’m not like anyone else. I believe this is a big part of why I’ve been able to thrive at New York City Ballet over the last 12 years. There have been high and low points along the way, especially while I was still training. But from where I stand now, those problems seem so small in comparison to the challenges that came next.

Every day, my mom and I would drive past the Teatro Colon, which is the biggest theater in Argentina. That was when I first felt I had a dream. Every day, as we drove by, I’d tell my mom that someday, I dreamed I would dance at that theater.

My biggest trouble began when my mom passed away. She had always been a huge supporter of mine. I felt lost without her. Soon after she died, I had a terrible foot injury. The doctors told me they didn’t know how long it would take for me to get better. Normally, I would have relied on dance to get me through this difficult and emotional time, but I couldn’t even walk. I tried many different treatments, some of which were very experimental, but the healing process was taking longer than I thought. After eight months, I was desperate. All I wanted to do was dance. Finally, I packed up my things and went home to Argentina to be with my family again and to try to not think so much about this injury, which it was not easy. After two months at home I got back to New York to keep up with my rehabilitation. Even though it was scary starting from scratch, I was happy to feel like myself again and after one year and three months I was on stage again.

When I finally achieved my life long goal of dancing at Teatro Colon, I was reminded that my journey started with my first big dream all those years ago. My dreams are what have kept me going and are what made both my career and life successful. Now I would say: Never stop dreaming, dreaming is what keeps you growing and becoming the best of you.

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