As the Louisville Ballet Season kicks off, dancer Annie Honebrink describes how it feels to come home in this week’s “Stage + Studio.”
The first day of the season is a reunion. Hugs, squeals, fast paced chatter. Summer for us usually means travel, visiting friends and family, finding work, and trying to stay in shape. For me, summer means sweeping graves at the cemetery my dad runs, singing made up songs with my niece, swimming at my grandma’s pool, and organizing my childhood home with my mom. It means wearing pointe shoes while vacuuming, giving myself ballet class in the dining room, endless walks in the park, and cheesy 80s workout videos. Summer is sleeping under the fan, refusing to turn the AC down, determined to keep the bill low. Summer is teaching ballet to kiddos, writing on my back deck to the night sounds of cicadas and crickets, and girls nights that go too late.
Though the layoff can be filled with fun memories and good people, I am always ready for August to come and the season to start. Routine cannot come soon enough. And that itch that all dancers have—that pull deep inside—becomes more and more pronounced. Needing to be soothed, desperate to be fed. Because it is more than a job. More than a paycheck. It is our art. Our passion. A way of life. And we are more than coworkers. We are family. Sometimes we irritate one another. Sometimes we hurt one another. But we also hold each other up. Lend a hand. Support. Love. I think of the memories these walls hold. The beauty that has been created here. The blood, sweat, and tears shed. These walls have watched me grow up. I remember the first day of work on my first season. Eighteen years old. Excited, scared. Heart racing a bit. Palms slightly sweaty. I think of all that has happened in the following seven seasons. The moments we have shared. Laughing in the corner of the studio until we can’t breathe. Holding each other in the dressing room while hearts break and heal back together. Letting the tears well up as we watch each other create such incredible art. I cannot wait to reunite with these people. To create together again. The first day of the season is like coming home.