Updated 07/06/2012 07:49 AM
Local ballerina selected for esteemed Russian company
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Joy Womack has a message for every little girl who sees a ballerina in the mirror.
"It's possible,” she said. “Dreams do come true."
At age 18, Womack will be the first American woman to join the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, arguably the most elite ballet company in the world.
"We're making history, and I'm really grateful for that,” she said.
This is not the first time Womack has danced her way into the international spotlight. She was the first American woman to graduate from the company's feeder school, the Bolshoi Ballet Academy.
In order to do that, she sacrificed everything she knew—her language, her culture and her family in Austin—to move to Russia when she was 15.
"There were so many times when I thought I was going to quit,” Womack said. “You have to work through injuries. It's really blood, sweat and tears, that's all I can say. So much of who you are as a dancer is what you put your body through and what you put your mind through."
Womack continues to attend ballet class daily. When in Austin, she trains at the Austin School of Classical Ballet, where she studied for a year before moving to Moscow. She says it's an honor to practice the art that Russians love as much as Americans love sports.
"The same as football players, we have teams, we have companies that fight over dancers,” Womack said. “It would be good to have more of the general population interested in what we're doing."
For now, Womack shares her passion through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. She is an American teenager, after all.
But by August, she'll be back on Russia's stage as the ballerina bridging two countries and, as she said it herself, making history.