It's spring showcase season, and every student has the same fantasy: Being seen by a director, and promptly offered a contract. For Hannah Keene, that fantasy came true after she performed as a Boston Ballet trainee in the school's Next Generation concert last year. She shared her story with Pointe:
That night, I performed in my trainee "class piece," and in Balanchine's Raymonda Variations, doing the first variation. I was dancing just as I would in any other performance—I had been planning on a second year in Boston Ballet's trainee program.
But after the show, while still in costume and heading downstairs to change, I remember Boston Ballet's artistic dtirector, Mikko Nissinen, calling out casually, "Hannah, could I talk to you for a second?" When I went over, he said to me, "How would you feel about joining BBII next year?" I was shocked. I thought at first that he might be joking! I thought, "This can't be real!" I think I even asked him, "Are you serious?" It was such a dream come true, so all I could think was that I was, in fact, dreaming.
Now my first season with BBII is almost over, and I've learned so much from taking class and rehearsing with such incredible dancers. I've figured out that I need to take responsibility for my own dancing and be diligent about my work; there's not always a teacher to help me when I'm struggling. I've also learned how important it is to let loose, to be confident that I have the technique and then find ways to make the movements my own. I love Boston Ballet and have spent years looking up to the dancers here. I'd love to grow with the company and become a stronger, more versatile dancer, to take risks with new pieces, and in the process, learn more about myself as an artist.
Catch Keene dancing the role of the Piccolo in Jerome Robbins' Fanfare in this year's Next Generation performance on Wednesday, May 8 at the Boston Opera House.