"It is with your feet that you move, but with your heart that you dance."
I know to many of you, these probably look like an old ratty pair of shoes . . .
but to me they are so much more.
They are filled with memories of a past life.
At one time, ballet was my everything.
I ate, slept, and breathed it every second of every day.
I found these shoes on Sunday morning.
Rosin still on the toes to keep me from slipping.
Water stains from trying to soften them.
Burnt ribbons to keep them from fraying.
and the smell of hard work and determination.
Ballet was ultimately my first true love.
but with that love, also came hate.
The love was for the beauty of the movement
and the feeling I got when I soared across the room in class or on stage.
Living in constant pursuit of perfection for the art and for my body.
Well, that is where the hate comes in.
It was a constant struggle for me personally.
My body although more than willing and able to achieve the movement,
did not produce the beautiful long willowy lines that were desired by company directors.
At just over 5 feet tall with a more athletic build, it was a constant battle.
The inner turmoil began at the age of 16.
It was mind of matter and the passion for the art that drove me to be "perfect" at all costs.
Even if it meant being unhealthy.
At the time I did not think there was such a thing as being too thin.
Looking back now, I thought I was carefully balancing,
but I was dangerously teetering on a scary ledge.
I was in a very bad place.
It was dark and lonely, but my love for ballet kept me there.
Hard work, passion, drive, and desire could conquer all,
so I thought.
Eventually, my body gave up.
It was telling me, it had nothing left to give.
An injury snapped me to my senses, literally.
It was not easy, but after many conversations with my family and close friends,
I hung up those shoes for good.
Finding these shoes this past weekend in my closet was somewhat of an emotional journey.
Photographing them, was incredibly therapeutic.
These shoes are filled with both joy and sorrow, but I still love them so.
They are part of me and although I am no longer a dancer and at times really miss it, I am still an artist.
Just in another sense. I no longer use my body to create the beautiful art for a packed theatre.
I am sitting in the audience of life, capturing it with my camera.
Inspired by my friend and former choreographer Kathryn Craft, who just released her incredible new book.
The Art of Falling. Click HERE to read an excerpt from the book or to purchase your copy.