Alumni Profile: Jessica Nelson / by Goleta School of Ballet

jessica nelson (1994 - 2008)


Jessica dancing the lead in Giselle in the 2008 Spring Performance

How old were you when you started ballet?

3 years old

What years did you study at the Goleta School of Ballet?

1994-2008 (plus a summer intensive in 2010)

In what capacity did you continue to dance after leaving high school?

The college I attended did not have much of a dance department, so I did not continue training in ballet, but I was on the dance team there for two years. I also returned to GVCC to teach at dance camp in 2009 and to participate in the intensive in 2010. I am now starting up ballet classes again at Duke University where I just started graduate school.

What are you doing now?

I am a first year in the Biology PhD program at Duke University.

How do you think doing ballet as a child & teenager helped or influenced you later in life?

Ballet became an integral part of my identity and view of the world. For better or worse, it shaped my aesthetics and some of my values. I learned to work hard, to always strive to do better, and to seek grace in actions even outside of ballet. I also gained what I think will be a life-long love of dance and the tools to quickly pick up many other forms of dance.