“I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself.” – Mikhail Baryshnikov
My name is Kayla McCabe and I dance the role of stepsister in Ballet Virginia International’s Cinderella, choreographed by renowned choreographer Ginger Thatcher. I grew up here in Hampton Roads and took my first ballet class when I was seven years old, after dancing (un)professionally in my family kitchen for the first six years of my life. When I turned eight I started training two days a week with Ballet Virginia International Academy (BVI) and that sealed the deal, I was determined to become a ballerina.
Thanks to some amazing teachers I rose through the ranks and by seventeen I was chosen to perform the coveted role of Sugar Plum Fairy in our annual production of The Nutcracker. That same year I graduated high school early, was accepted and attended the Conservatory program at Atlanta Ballet. After a productive year in Atlanta full of growth personally and artistically I decided to not continue the program a second year but instead come back home to my roots, train with the teachers who knew me best, take some online college classes, and refine myself as an artist, with the intent to audition for professional ballet companies the following season. BVI has welcomed me back with open arms, has allowed me to once again train at their academy, and let me live out the passion of following my dreams, of which I am truly grateful.
“I don’t want people who want to dance. I want people who have to dance” – George Balanchine
After receiving news I was cast in the role of stepsister in BVI’s Cinderella I decided to become familiar with the choreographer. Ginger Thatcher started her professional career with Houston Ballet and went on to dance with Cincinnati Ballet, Cleveland Ballet, and joined the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company in 1990. In 1993 Ms.Thatcher made her choreographic debut on Broadway as assistant choreographer in The Red Shoes, which sparked her over 30 choreographic credits, some of which include Tiny Dancer, Oklahoma!, A Year With Frog and Toad, Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, For The Love of Duke, and productions with various other theatre and dance companies. Ms. Thatcher is also on the faculty at prestigious ballet schools such as Ballet Academy East, Steps on Broadway, HB studios, and Joffery Ballet School.
After our first rehearsal it was obvious to me that Ms. Thatcher is a seasoned professional and knew exactly what she wanted to see from us and how to make it happen. She has what she wants in her head and is able to show you precisely what it is, whether it be how your character should react to a situation or what kind of quality she wants in your movement while you dance. Ms. Thatcher is a very physical and energetic choreographer, which are qualities every dancer appreciates, especially when the choreographer only has three weeks to create and set an entire full length ballet. I think that’s the Broadway element she has brought to this whole process. Ms. Thatcher is also very efficient yet very precise; every step has a musical cue and every movement has an intention behind it. These characteristics are a telltale sign of someone who has had a professional career in ballet.
“The theatre is so endlessly fascinating because it so accidental. It’s so much like life” – Arthur Miller
A live theatrical experience is always an event to cherish, from Shakespearian times to present. There are many reasons why the theatre has been alive for thousands of years, and is still growing even today. The theatre is a truly magical place that brings friends and family together. It not only gathers people together but lets everyone share an extraordinary moment that will never be performed the exact same way twice.
Theatre is also an amazing way to experience art and culture from around the world without even going very far at all. At the same time going to the theatre is a great way to support the local artists in your area, who are dedicated to bringing live art directly to you.
Ballet Virginia International’s Cinderella is a unique opportunity where both of these points collide: where you get to experience a production by a renowned Broadway choreographer and support local artists at the same time. A production that is very unique in itself, a production where Broadway meets ballet and classical meets comedy, a fairy tale reinvented for the modern audience.