Issue August 27, 2008

Profile – Kirsten Stallings – Ballet Dancer

Photo by Jane Mattingly
Photo by Jane Mattingly

I first loved ballet for the same reason most 2-year-olds love ballet,” says Kirsten Stallings, 17, a senior at Floyd Central High School and reputable dancer at Debbie Endris’ Encore Performing Arts Studio in Clarksville. It’s about the glamour of the costumes and the beauty of the movements. “When I got older,” she says, “I loved it because it was so much more than all those things. Ballet doesn’t have to be just pretty. Ballet can be dark and funky and hip. Ballet can even be hot and sexy.”

Stallings got her start in ballet 11 years ago, at age 6, at the Matthew Ballet Institute, a rigorous dance studio in Charlotte, N.C., that followed the curriculum of the Royal Academy of Dancing in England. Now she is enjoying Clarksville’s more relaxed atmosphere and trying to find her place: “At the moment, I have no clue how dance is going to fit into my future, but I know it will.” 

Stallings is planning to double-major in dance and education in college. “I would love to dance in a company somewhere, but I know I would be just as happy teaching others at a studio or high school,” she says. Despite her passion, she’s aware that it can be an unstable career. “The problem with a dance career is that it’s really short, and an unexpected injury can end it in a flash,” she says. “I need something a little more stable. Luckily, the world of ballet is big, and there’s a perfect spot for me somewhere in there.” 

Stallings has dabbled in other forms of dancing, but says she always comes back to ballet, her first love. “Asking me why I do ballet is like asking me why I breathe,” she says. “I want to bring people back to it and show that ballet is more than frilly men in tights lifting girls around a stage.” —Jess Mahanes