I was a student in Olga Blumenkrantz's first class of ballet students at the Kardon-Northeast Branch about thirty years ago. I had taken nine years of ballet with Olga. In 1983, my class and I performed at the Academy of Music honoring Settlement Music School's 75th year. I can remember getting ready in the dressing room. I still have a framed program from 1986, when Robert Capanna was the Branch Director for the Kardon-Northeast Branch. Countless hours went into practicing ballet in order to achieve the prize of wearing toe shoes. After that, the goal switched to earning a solo, toe-shoe performance.
On December 22, 2009, I watched the annual version of The Nutcracker, choreographed by Olga Blumenkrantz. The festive decorations, Christmas tree, and brilliant lights transformed the stage. The performance was enhanced for me because my daughter, Ava, played the role of the Nutcracker. The most magical part for me came when my nine-year-old daughter, Chloe, danced the part of Clara wearing my toe shoes. To me, Chloe floated across the stage more gracefully than any professional I'd seen.
The audience, along with my husband, in-laws, aunt, uncle, and nieces enjoyed a wonderful, dynamic performance of The Nutcracker. Through my tears, I witnessed memories flooding back and experienced the passing of a beloved talent to the next generation with the help of Settlement Music School and the dedication of the Kardon-Northeast Branch founding ballet instructor, Olga.
My memories at SMS and recent experiences compelled me to join as a member of the Board of Directors. I wanted to give back something to an organization that had given me so much. Prior to joining the board, I knew the office personnel and my daughters' teachers. Now, I have the opportunity to engage with other parents, faculty and students by attending performance hours, recitals, and board meetings.
I wanted to share my story with other parents who are trying to give opportunities to their children and yet ask themselves, "Is it worth it?" Is it worth the drive? Is it worth the money? Is it worth the effort? I can tell you that, as a former ballet student and mother of current ballet and violin students, it is. They will carry the experience with them always, just as I do.
Julia C. Roberts
Kardon-Northeast Branch Board Member
Exile in Ritesville
8 hours ago