We were raised in a very creative family. We are surrounded by music, art, theater and dance. While the rest of us admired the movement from afar, our sister Lisa was the only one graced with the gift of coordination. She followed her passion morning, noon and night — dancing seven days a week — teaching and performing whenever she could.
We happily sat in the lobby at the dance studio as she rehearsed, eagerly attended the yearly dance recitals and gleefully went to see her perform in a multitude of shows. And every year all the woman in the family — aunts, cousins, nieces, grandmothers and mothers — went to watch the Boston Ballet perform The Nutcracker during the holidays.
So, while the rest of the teenage girls our age were a do-run-running with Shaun Cassidy or falling in puppy love with Donny Osmond, we were hanging posters of Rudolf Nureyev on our bedroom wall. Our parents even took us to see the Russian defector dance (twice) and we can still vividly picture the height of those leaps.
Years later we learned a family friend married a Boston ballerina and boy were we impressed. But it wasn't until we began looking for Passionistas for our podcast that we put two and two together that our friend’s wife, Laura Young, had danced with Nureyev in the very performance we had seen.
Laura began ballet dancing when she was just six and taught herself to dance on pointe at age eight after finding her mother's toe shoes in the attic. Her mother had danced with George Balanchine when he was first forming the New York City Ballet. But Laura’s mother's dreams were squashed when she was not allowed to join Balanchine’s new company. So naturally, Laura's mom was more than happy to encourage her daughter's passion for the art. By the age of 16, Laura was on her way to becoming a prima ballerina for the newly formed Boston Ballet.
We spoke with Laura recently for The Passionistas Project Podcast about discovering her passion for dance, the challenges of being a ballerina, the camaraderie within the company and, of course, dancing with Nureyev.
To listen to our conversation with Laura go to The Passionistas Project Podcast. And to hear even more delightful stories about her read Boston Ballerina by Laura Young — available on Amazon.