Just over a year ago, I made an early decision to retire from my career as a professional dancer. Leaving behind the glory of the stage, the grind of endless hours in the studio . . . the past 16 years of my life dedicated to performing art. I know for certain that not one day has gone by that I haven’t considered my decision, contemplated my timing . . . wondered what ballet I might be rehearsing or injury I might be nursing if I was still “in the game.” I go to the theater frequently to get my fix of live art, and each time I sit there on the other side of the curtain, a cocktail of mixed emotions swirls in my soul, a bittersweet taste of a life I knew so well, combined with an urge to be up on stage with the rest of them. Needless to say, it’s hard for me to sit still.
Shelby Elsbree. Photographs by Karolina Kuras