Angelina wrote a wonderful piece about finding a best friend, plowing through hardship, reaching goals, and the power of a pair of pointe shoes. Please read on.....
I started dancing when I was around the age of 2. I quickly moved over to Greensboro Ballet due to its dominance in the art of ballet. I met Ava Freyaldenhoven in class when I was 3 years old and we immediately became best friends. From then on we were paired together for many dances due to how synced we were as people. We then began to grow up together. While growing up we encountered the beginnings of elementary school, the awkwardness of middle school, and then high school. We both went to different High schools which meant that coming to dance everyday after school was an escape from the hallways and the constant papers as well as being able to tell each other about our days and our friends that we acquired at school.
Once High School hit, we both considered (slightly) giving up on ballet and dance all together due to the fact that the idea of being a normal high school student of being able to go to football games, dances, and hanging out with our school friends sounded ideal. We quickly realized however, that giving up dance at that age, would be giving up on ourselves and on a dance form that was so beautiful and majestic to participate in. So we stayed. Once sophomore year hit, so did Advanced Placement classes and Honors classes. I began to stay up past 2 am each night due to the amount of homework that I had. Getting home from dance around 9 pm each night was not helping. So once again, doubt filled our heads of whether or not it was worth it to keep going to dance and breaking our bodies down slowly over the years. Sometimes it wasn’t even fun to go dance anymore because of how tired I would be. However, I had made an amazing group of friends who I would’ve hated not seeing everyday that I could. So, we just made the best out of the situation that we were put in. I kept going to dance and in all honesty, I still loved it with all my heart.
Going in for rehearsals, even though that meant running things over and over again, and possibly being stuck in a studio for over 4 hours sounds terrible and can turn anyone mad. But those were my favorite parts of going into dance. Learning new steps for a part that I had been placed in due to an audition was always very satisfying for me and my progression in the art form. And on top of all of that, Ava and I were always together.
She and I started as mere snow puffs in the snow scene for The Nutcracracker, then graduated to the part of little mouse and little soldier in the battle scene where I got to “punch” her in the face on stage (which was super funny because she’s my best friend and here I was punching her and then dragging her off the stage), from there we moved to big solider and big mouse, waltz flower corps, we shared Clara in the same year, became the Chinese dancers in the kingdom of sweets, then snow corps and snow soloists, mirlitons, and then eventually we split to become Sugar Plum and Dew Drop in the final act of The Nutcracker. So we really were together all the time, including productions other than the infamous The Nutcracker.
Yeah it was hard at some times, and yeah sometimes we didn’t go to dance because we physically could not or we had too much homework that night. However, for the most part, we always did. And if we hadn’t, we wouldn’t have gotten the really good parts that we did because of how hard we worked.
Eventually dancing led the both of us to New York City and to dance there for a year. That was an amazing year for me because not only did I get the opportunity to live in New York City, but to also continue dancing with my best friend.
Now we both go to college and when we were asked to put back on our pointe shoes for a photoshoot, we were both skeptical. But putting back on those shoes, and doing it with my best friend, allowed me to realize that I will always love dance, and even though it seems hard sometimes, if you push through and you have a good friend there by your side, everything will turn out fine. After all, don’t you want those good parts in a certain ballet that you always looked up to as a child?
Angelina and Ava interned at Greensboro Ballet this summer. Angelina is a Political Science Major at Alabama, while Ava is studying History and Communications at NC State University.
They came in to create some detail shots for use in the social media work at the Ballet, but also stayed to create some images for themselves. There was a LOT of laughter, a LOT of fun, and a LOT great memories. I have no doubt that they will go far in whatever endeavors they set their minds to. They learned tenacity at an early age. I am very glad I got to know them, even just a little, that day at the studio.
Enjoy some of the work we created. The black and white is their recreation of their favorite ballet photo, an on-set candid of Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn from 1952.