I’m a professional ballet dancer and I am very tall.
Actually I have the Guinness World record for being the tallest ballet dancer in the world.
While I was in school, I mean the program, The Paris Opera, is a six year program.
I started growing very quickly.
It was something very unusual, and it kind of scared my director that didn’t know what to do with me.
She knew that I would face a lot of challenges because of my height, especially in Europe.
But she was very aware that here in the United States,
things are much more open. The idea of being tall is not so much of a challenge.
It’s more about the talent and skills.
When I did my first step in the States it was in New York.
It was very overwhelming. I didn’t speak that language.
I was on my own, no family, nowhere to go if I had any problems.
And New York was so overwhelming. It was so much going on, it was very busy.
When I saw Chicago for the first time, you know I feel like it was answering all my questions.
And so I auditioned for the Joffrey.
They offered me a contract at the audition.
And I was really excited. I went home. I flew back to Paris.
And I remember turning on the TV and watching the breaking news.
It was, September 11th happened. It was right at the time.
Literally a few days later I get a call from my company,
they were trying to get my paperwork but unfortunately
things became much more complicated.
And so this whole year I couldn’t return to the States.
A very difficult time just because my life was my life.
And I knew that my future was in Chicago and all of a sudden my dream fell apart.
I wanted to join the Joffrey.
I wanted to be in Chicago.
I wanted to go back to ballet. My roots and what I worked all those years for.
I was like I got to go back.
I gotta to go back, I got to see them so I booked a flight to go to Chicago,
and I left, I left the following day.
Amazingly, Gerald Arpino, who was the founder of the company
just walked out of his office.
Pass next to me and he turn around and he's like
“oh you here baby, finally! You coming here for me? When do you start?”
And I was like “now, I’m starting now.”
He’s like “Fantastic!"
"I’m the director here. I make contracts. Go get him a contract he needs to start now.”
And that was it and I started with the Joffrey ballet
just like that. It was pretty magical.
It was, it was, it was very amazing.
Do I think that Chicago has so many things to offer?
Pretty much just strength you know, of this country.
It’s always to people to be very open about possibilities and differences.