Since she saw ballerinas at her dance studio at the age of 12, senior Megan Girczyc has been a ballet dancer. Initially, Megan was a tap dancer, but she switched to ballet and successfully mastered pointe at the age of 13. At that point, she didn’t know that ballet would play such a pivotal role in her life. Since then, Megan has been part of many shows and even played the lead role Sugar Plum Fairy in “The Nutcracker” for two years in a row.
“I’ve done so much choreography; there’s so much dance in my head,” Megan said.
Now 18, Megan is continuing her passion by attending The Nutmeg Conservatory of the Arts, a premiere ballet academy located in Torrington, Connecticut for a year. From there, she hopes to get a job and become a professional dancer for a ballet company.
“[Nutmeg Conservatory] is a good stepping stone [to] a professional dancing career,” Megan said. “In some ways I’m just going to ballet college. Because it’s so small, I’m more likely to get individualized attention than if I went to a bigger school.”
Megan will be living in a small condo near the premises of the school and plans on getting a job while perhaps taking community college classes.
“[I’ll be dancing ballet] from 10 am to 9 pm everyday,” Megan said. “I’ll probably take community college classes so I’ll still be in the intellectual sphere … If I get a job [at Nutmeg], I’ll be either an apprentice or a trainee.”
Megan is also considering a job through another dancing company in California. If she does get the job, she will not be attending Nutmeg. However, Megan still plans on being a professional dancer.
“It’s a stretch—let’s be honest here,” Megan said. “There are a lot of people who want do it, but not a lot of people do. Your body starts falling apart. I already have hip problems and I’m only 18 … The thing is, I’ll only be 18 once. I won’t ever be this young and I won’t ever be this fit.”
If everything works out, Megan plans on being a professional dancer for 10-15 years. From there, she hopes to go back to college and to study robotic prosthetics.
“[In ten years] either I’d be at a company or retired, attending college,” Megan said. “I want to work in robotic prosthetics. I know a bunch of retired dancers who are doctors and chemists. It’s interesting how art and science aren’t mutually exclusive.”
After her performance in “The Nutcracker” her junior year, Megan began thinking about becoming a professional dancer, but she never considered it as a possibility until she had a conversation with her dance instructor.
“I’m really looking forward to Nutmeg,” Megan said. “I realized that I couldn’t give [dancing] up. It’s what I love, this is what keeps me sane and brings me the most joy. There’s no possible way I could just stop.”
For Megan, the most difficult part about deciding to become a dancer was the uncertainty associated with her career. At first, her parents were also reluctant about her career path, and wanted her to stick with the traditional four-year university path.
“My mom is afraid I will never go back [to school] and lose all inertia but I know I won’t,” Megan said. “It is an uncertain choice and I don’t know 100 percent what’s going to happen in the future. Everyone going to college [now] knows their path. By inserting this gap year, I have another branch of choice.”
Despite an uncertain future, Megan knows she wants to be a dancer. According to her, if she had gone to college without trying this path, she would still be wondering about the “What if’s.” Megan is more than thrilled to continue pursuing her passion for ballet.
“My advice to anyone is that it’s never too late to start anything,” Megan said. “Whatever it is, just go for it. And don’t be afraid of the unknown.”