Almost every girl takes dance when she is young, merely to try it out. Nevertheless, most girls discover that their interests lie elsewhere, and they resolve to pursue their authentic passion. However, when freshman Bella Theodorou began dancing at the age of three, she fell in love with the craft and developed a true passion for dance.
“I started because everyone dances when they are young, so I started it and a lot of people quit, but I just never quit,” Bella said.
Bella takes ballet not only because she has the opportunity to do so, but because over the years, she has simply fallen in love with it. Dancing on stage all dressed up as a character in the show and entertaining the audience makes dance something that is really special and enjoyable for her. “When you perform you feel pretty. You feel like you’re entertaining people, and you can really connect with the music,” Bella said with a smile.
Bella’s friends acknowledge that she certainly possesses a special desire for dance. “She has a really deep passion for dance, and I think she should follow it,” freshman Annabelle Jacobs, one of Bella’s closest friends, said.
Bella attends a ballet school for 10 hours a week at The Hartt Community Division through the University of Hartford. Since she dances at a ballet school, Bella primarily practices ballet, but she has also taken classes in jazz and character, a stylized representation of traditional folk dance. Even with all the diverse styles of dance she has had the opportunity to try, her preferred variety of dance continues to be ballet. “I prefer ballet a lot more than the other ones, and I don’t really like the other styles,” she said.
The reason behind Bella’s attraction to ballet is simply the fact that the other styles of dance do not appeal to her in the same way that ballet does. In addition, ballet comes with grace and storytelling, two aspects that Bella enjoys about the style of dance.
Bella has found pure pleasure in dancing, while also making countless memories that she will cherish. Since she has been dancing so much for such a long period of time, Bella has a difficult time selecting one specific memory that sticks out. Instead, she came to the conclusion that, in general, her favorite memories come from simply spending time with her friends in the dance environment. “The late nights in the studio and on stage and just being with my friends,” Bella said.
Everyone looks up to someone in their life, whether it’s an athlete, artist, or simply a member of their family. For Bella, she is inspired by the ballerina Marianela Núñez because of her positivity and inspirational dances. Marianela is an Argentine ballet dancer who is also a principal dancer for the Royal Ballet in London. “When she dances she is really positive and she is inspiring,” Bella said.
Despite the fact that Bella may not be a professional dancer quite yet, she remains an inspiration for others. “She’s graceful, she’s determined, she’s passionate, and she’s dedicated,” Annabelle said while describing Bella.
Even though dance is a positive aspect of Bella’s life, there are still many challenges that come from being a ballerina. One challenge that she encounters as she takes on ballet instead of a KO sport is balancing social life with dance. Because dance is a major time commitment, Bella has less free time than many of her friends. In addition, due to Bella’s hectic schedule, she often has to miss out on social events planned by KO. This has been a struggle for her, but she still manages to hang out with her friends at times that correlate with her schedule.
Another major challenge that Bella faces is something that many girls struggle with: body dysmorphia. “Everyone struggles with it no matter how you look,” she said. “We have to stand in front of a mirror for four hours.” Despite this challenge, she has been able to overcome it with support from her loved ones and by being confident in herself.
Throughout her ballet journey, Bella has gained much support from both her family and friends. Her mother danced in college, so she understands Bella’s situation very well and can support her in the best way possible. Her brother and father don’t actually comprehend what it’s like to be a dancer, but they still support Bella as she dances through life. In addition, Annabelle supports Bella by going to her shows and being a loyal friend that she can always talk to. “I’ve been to her Nutcracker performance, and I have also FaceTimed some of her dance friends with her to talk about some of the dances that she does,” Annabelle said.
The day of the Nutcracker performance, while Bella was backstage preparing, Annabelle and some friends filed into the theater to find their seats. They watched the show with a keen eye looking for their friend. Smiles of pride spread across their faces when Bella came on stage dressed as her character, a cat, and danced with grace.
Even though Bella loves dancing with a fierce passion, she does not see it as a future profession, but she may want to continue in college. “I want to do it because I enjoy it as a hobby,” Bella said. She explained that at this point in her life, becoming a professional is simply out of reach because to reach that stage, a great amount of extra time and work is required.
Dancing may not be a part of everyone’s life as they grow older, but for Bella, dance is a way to express herself and connect with the music. Whenever she encounters a challenge in ballet, Bella just remembers what she loves about the craft and continues with confidence.