Cassidy Isaacson, 19, in blue, of Redmond, Washington does a port de bra back on barre for her morning class at the Grand Rapids Ballet Company on Monday, Sept. 28, 2014. Isaacson joined Grand Rapids Ballet in 2011 as a trainee and is now a full company member.
Cassidy Isaacson applies eye shadow and makeup before going to morning class. She attends class with makeup because company dancers are expected to come looking professional and ready for anything such as a surprise interview or photo shoot.
Cassidy Isaacson does a `A la seconde stretch midway through full company dance class, after the instructor, Michael Auer gave the dancers time to stretch before using the entire room to practice jumps and combinations.
During a rehearsal on the stage at the Grand Rapids Ballet Company for The Nutcracker, Cassidy gets lifted up by Steven Houser.
Cassidy Isaacson, talks about the weekend get together with Isaac Aoki that all of the dancers were invited to. They wear layers of clothes then take them off as muscles get warm. Cassidy comes in to warm up at 8:30 a.m. so she is ready for class from 9:30 – 11: 15 a.m.
Cassidy Isaacson, 19, fastens her bun in the dressing room after returning to the Grand Rapids Ballet Company for an afternoon Nutcracker rehearsal on Oct. 6, 2014. “We call ourselves professional dancers but then people think strippers so we say professional ballet dancers. We don’t call ourselves ballerinas very often.”
Cassidy Isaacson, 19, eats lunch across from her boyfriend, fellow Grand Rapids Ballet dancer, Jack Lennon, 18, along with other dancers on their lunch break at 2 p.m following a rehearsal for Swan Lake. “I don’t like to cook, but most dancers make all their meals so they can control every ingredient,” said Cassidy.
Cassidy, right, does a Sauté with other ballet dancers, she goes through one or two pairs of ballet slippers a week but she is good at making them last. Her maker is Maltese Cross.
Guest teacher, Cassidy Isaacson, talks with a student after rehearsing the competition dance for the advanced lyrical class she teaches at Academy of Dance Arts in Grand Rapids, Mich.
“I have never thought about not doing it, (dancing) it was never an option for me to do something else,” said Cassidy Isaacson, 19. Cassidy started dancing at the age of 4 in her hometown of Redmond, Washington.
Keeping time alongside the classical music Cassidy Isaacson, 19 of Redmond, Washington perfects her turn out and extensions.
Cassidy is a professional ballet dancer for the Grand Rapids Ballet Company that began her ballet training at the age of 4 in Washington. Aside from her steady training, she spent summers training at the Pacific Northwest Ballet and Long Beach Ballet in China. Cassidy attended the Julliard Summer Intensive in New York as well as the Grand Rapids Ballet Summer Intensive on Scholarships.
Cassidy joined Grand Rapids Ballet in 2011, the following year she became an apprentice to then become a company member since 2013.
“When I was three-years-old I saw Patricia Barker (Grand Rapids Ballet Company Artistic Director) in the Nutcracker and I told my mom after that, I am going to do that,” said Cassidy.
From that moment on the Ballet has been Cassidy’s life.
“There are a lot of cliches in the ballet world,” said Cassidy.
As much as the dancers roll their eyes when people talk about movies such as Center Stage, Ballet Shoes, Black Swan and Save The Last Dance some of the topics show their face in the real ballet world.
The Art Director sets a weight that looks good for each ballet dancer and if you do not match that weight you will be asked about it until the pounds are shed. A position on the barre during class comparable to where you sit in the cafeteria in high school, or even the desk you sit at everyday in English class; you just don’t take someones spot unless you want drama. Ballet really does have to take over your life, being a professional at 16-years-old is not a fairytale goal for them; they do it. And to top it all off, teachers do yell at you during class in front of everyone and tell you how awful your feet look, that is not just in the movies.
Even with all of the challenges and long days Cassidy says, “I have never thought about not doing it, (dancing) it was never an option for me to do something else.”
Being a professional ballerina is a privilege that vary few get to dawn the title of. The dance world can be challenging but it creates passionate, dedicated, and world traveled individuals.