I’m Madison Keesler, a corps de ballet dancer with SF Ballet, and your newest blogger here!
When I was 14 years old I attended my very first summer program with San Francisco Ballet School, and ever since then I knew that one day I would dance with this beautiful company. At 16, I came to the San Francisco Ballet School for the year-round program and had many wonderful experiences. It was the first time I stepped onto the opera house stage with the company in both Nutcracker and Giselle. I performed the leading role for the school in John Neumeier’s Yondering for the 75th anniversary gala, and I received wonderful training throughout the year that helped shape me during my final days in school.
At the end of my year with the San Francisco Ballet School I chose to join John Neumeier’s Hamburg Ballet in Germany. I spent one year there and am forever grateful for everything they gave me. John, his ballets, his staff, and his dancers have forever shaped who I am as an artist.
Now here I am, writing to you before the start of my second season with San Francisco Ballet! I officially joined in July 2009 and had an incredible first season with the company.
I flew to San Francisco the day after Hamburg ballet had its final performance. I allowed myself to rest for one day in order to recover from the jet lag, and I had my first day as a company member with SFB the next morning. It was a very easy transition because for my first two weeks with SFB it felt as though I had never left Hamburg – John Neumier, Kevin Haigen, Leslie McBeth, Niurka Moredo, and Lloyd Riggins were all in San Francisco to set The Little Mermaid. It was terrific because it felt as though everyone from Hamburg came with me! I had also done many performances of The Little Mermaid with Hamburg Ballet so I felt very comfortable with the ballet as well. I really couldn’t have asked for a better transition.
I could go on forever about my experiences during my first year with SFB but I’m sure you all do not want to read a novel so I will do my best to sum things up.
My first year was filled with some marvelous moments and I am so grateful for all of them. From the “off-season” rehearsals, to the tour in China, as well as the entire season– even up until the very last day! There are countless moments that I will never forget. I’m getting extremely excited for my second season to start on July 5th and I plan to write much more this following year so keep an eye out for more blog entries!