PDS Portraits: Ava Roitburg '19
I've been studying ballet since I was captivated by The Nutcracker at age 4. Every day for fourteen years now, my routine has been to go to Princeton Ballet for rehearsals after school at PDS. Over the years, I've learned to cope with having a kind of double life, and how to manage my time and get things done really efficiently. Sophomore year, I was exploring auditioning for professional ballet companies, and even considered studying online and leaving PDS. But a lot of different factors led me to a completely different path. I've made the decision to not continue with ballet as seriously and single-mindedly as I've pursued it until now. It's hard and it's scary to make such a huge decision, because ballet is really what I know best, but I'm ready to explore other things. I want to hold onto an artistic mindset, I want to keep dance in my life ... just not to the exclusion of other opportunities. So it's a real honor, in my final months as a PDS student, to share my work with the school community and to bring these two worlds together. I'm presenting two pieces in the April 11 Dance Concert: a collaboration with my classmate, violinist Eric Chen, and a duet from Don Quixote, in which I'll be performing the lead role of Kitri this May with Princeton Ballet. Working with Eric is really special, he is an incredible artist and working together challenges us both to step out of our comfort zones, not just to get the choreography right but to explore what it means to be an artist. For the Grand Pas de Deux from Don Quixote, which I'll be performing alongside Jonathan Montepara of the American Repertory Ballet, I've worked so hard to discover my character and polish the technical details. Sharing this work with the PDS is a little scary. It's different to perform for a crowd you know versus a crowd of strangers, and I put a lot of pressure on myself to make the performance seamless. But the adrenaline rush is something I've never felt before, and I want to show everyone what I've worked so hard for, all these years. I can already feel the nerves rising as I think about performing in front of everyone ... I can't wait!
Ava Roitburg '19 performs in the PDS Dance Concert, Thursday April 11 at 7pm in the McAneny Theater.
Photos & interview by Justin Goldberg