In my 28-year professional ballet career I had the great honor of dancing leading roles in most of the famous classic ballets, and, while I loved all of them, nothing could compare with the experience of being a “mother”. Having a family while being an active professional dancer is exhilarating yet challenging.
In celebration of Mother’s Day, I thought it appropriate to highlight two SNB dancers who seem to manage both roles beautifully: Sara Weir and Kimberly Yukes.
Both dancers joined SNB in 2019 and will be featured in SNB’s virtual production of Brew, Brats, and Ballet (BBB) that will be presented on the Reno Little Theater’s website May 20th through the 23rd and at the Brewery Arts Center’s Drive-In Movie on June 5th and 6th.
Sara Weir began formally studying ballet at the early age of 3, while Kimberly Yukes learned ballet informally at home from her older sister and began formal study much later. Both women have had many years experience dancing professionally, and both are devoted to their families. Sara has four children: two girls and two boys (ages 11,10, 8 and 6). Kimberly has two children: a girl and a boy (ages 11 and 8).
Ballet is a very physically and emotionally demanding art form, and juggling motherhood with a career demands a great deal of dedication, discipline, and determination. Sara explains: “The challenges definitely revolve around scheduling and managing our evenings carefully so we can still enjoy meals and quality time together.”
Kimberly feels that she often has to be away from her children in the evenings: “I have major mom guilt and just miss them so much, but the truth is, they are just fine, and it’s probably for the best that I can go pursue my passions and return as a better person and mother.”
Sara agrees “I love being an example of continuing to do the things I love for my children. I love that they see me work hard at something and what that does for me as a person and as a mother.”
It appears that both women have passed down their love of dance to their children. Sara’s two daughters study ballet at SNB Academy, and Sara has been teaching her sons to learn partnering skills. Sara is “certain that ballet will be a part of their lives in some way.”
Kimberly’s daughter started out studying ballet but found a passion for hip-hop dance and contemporary. “Both of my children love to dance! We love to have dance parties and dance battles and just go crazy.” Kimberly said: “My son has some amazing ninja and breakdancing moves that he has created, and he has a great sense of rhythm.”
Sara is looking forward to the next few months as SNB returns to the live stage. “It’s magical to perform. Being part of a live production is very special, and I cannot wait to be in that space with my wonderful SNB family.” She said: “I’m really looking forward to debuting all the original works for BBB and also looking forward to executing the difficult simplicity of Giselle. It’s a beautiful romantic ballet with such magical feeling.”
Kimberly loves Brew, Brats and Ballet: “It is special because it is a mix of different styles of dance and different choreographers too. I feel like it is a treat for us dancers as well as for the audience to get to experience a large variety.“ She is also excited to start working on Giselle: “Giselle is one of my favorite ballets. It is beautiful and I love the drama in it as well.”
Combining the gift of dance and motherhood is a unique experience, and Kimberly describes it well: “The gems I get from seeing the world through the eyes of my little ones allows me to find a sense of magic, wonder and light even in the mundane. It feeds my creative mind and my ability to express. I try to evoke the magic and wonder when I perform and express myself.”
Sara adds: “Being a mother cannot be explained in simple words, but I will say that the richness of motherhood has given me a wisdom that I hope I carry into my dancing. Being a dancer and the richness it has given my life is something I also hope I carry into my mothering.”
Join us and see both dancing Moms on stage in action this May and July!
For information about SNB performances or the SNB Academy visit the SNB website at www.sierranevadaballet.org or call SNB at 775-360-8663