It’s been exactly two months since I arrived in San Francisco from Paris. My arrival stands out to me because it was during the Gay Pride Parade. These past two months have been very busy because I’ve had to find an apartment, get furniture, and do a lot of paperwork, all while learning many different ballets! At Paris Opera Ballet we would learn one ballet at a time; here, we learn a number of them at once. I think things have also felt busy because I left Paris for San Francisco, the day after the end of our ballet season.
It’s been interesting to see the difference between American and European cities. What has really stood out to me is that in France and in much of Europe, the town center is the heart of the area–it’s usually the most beautiful part of the town or city. But here the beauty is dispersed around the edges of the city and in San Francisco, the city center doesn’t feel like the heart of the city. Also, the weather here is so different–I didn’t want to believe that each neighborhood here has a micro-climate but each one really does, so I always carry a jacket wherever I go! I’ve been spending time just getting to know my way around and the community. Recently, I had the chance to serve meals at Glide Memorial Church and I hope to volunteer again with them soon.
I’ve been so impressed by the company since I arrived. I’m a little shy and seeing all these amazing dancers made it hard from me to step up to the front of the studio in the first few weeks of class, but everyone has been very friendly. I really admired Maria and Yuan Yuan before I came to San Francisco, so it’s also been fun to see them dance up close and to work with them. Everyone here, from the corps to the principals, are incredible artists and work very hard. It’s been a nice surprise to hear so many international languages in the studios–sometimes I come home at night with my brain buzzing from all the Spanish, English, and Russian! It’s also been great to see how many resources the Ballet offers us, from the Wellness Center, Pilates, massage, etc., to archive video of ballets for us to review internally. It’s really made things convenient because all I need is right here, in and around the building.
I haven’t had a lot of contact with my family since I left, given the time difference–but I’ve found that doing Facetime or Skype with them at 11 pm here allows me to catch them in the morning in Paris. My grandmother turned 80 recently so I sent her a plane ticket to San Francisco and she and my parents will come out to see me dance this season and my father will be out next month, which I’m really happy about. I’m also very excited for the New York tour. I’ve performed in New York before–at a Lincoln Center gala and for the Youth America Grand Prix. What I’m nervous about is that it will be my first time performing with San Francisco Ballet!