As a little girl I had lots of energy. As my brothers would explore the backyard in Heber, Arizona, I was destined to join them. I became the biggest tomboy ever. I was happiest when muddy and dirty and loved acting like a boy alongside my brothers.
Ana Maria Spear (center) in “The Nutcracker”. Photo by Rosalie O’Connor
My mother wanted me to achieve some balance, and possibly develop a few feminine traits, so she enrolled me in the White Mountain Dance Academy in Show Low. I immediately fell in love with ballet and danced everywhere I went; the grocery store, church and especially school.
As my dancing progressed, a dance teacher recommended The School of Ballet Arizona. My parents and I prayed over the decision, knowing the time commitment, not to mention commute that would be involved. In the end, we made the decision to try it out. Three days a week, my parents picked me up after school in Payson and drove all the way to Ballet Arizona.
Ethan Price and Ana Maria Spear in “Don Quixote”. Photo by Brianne Bland Photography
My commitment to ballet did not come without some hardships. After four years in Payson, my family made the hard decision to move to Mesa to make my training easier. At the time, my two brothers were wrestlers in high school and my little sister was just starting primary school. My family was either in Ballet Arizona’s lobby, or at a wrestling match cheering on my brothers. My little sister sacrificed so much of time supporting myself and our brothers. For that I will be forever grateful. I am so blessed to have had such an amazing family who loves and supports me.
Photo by Alexander Iziliaev.
During my training at The School of Ballet Arizona, I was able to perform with Ballet Arizona’s company dancers. My parents continued to drive me to classes, along with Symphony Hall, Orpheum Theatre, or where ever I had the chance to perform. Then, during my last year with The School of Ballet Arizona, I earned a professional contract with Ballet Arizona. The 2017-2018 will be my second season here.
So while I am a professional ballerina, Zumba teacher, Star Wars fan and reader of Austen, I am also an active member in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I was born and raised in the church. It will always be a big part of my life and a core part of who I am. It has brought me closer to my family and it makes me so happy to serve others and help those who are in need.
Photo by Alexander Iziliaev
I am so blessed to be able to do what I love at Ballet Arizona. I grew up here! This is my home. It’s where I trained and where I continue to grow. I am so grateful for our Artistic staff, who push me to do better every day. And though no longer his student, Mr. Carlos is always there reminding me of where I started and encouraging me to reach even further. To all of them, and especially my family, THANK YOU for helping make my dreams come true and for shaping me into the person I am today.