Meet Dara Holmes, 28, from The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago.

Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.

I knew I wanted to do ballet when I was three, and from NC to FL to Chicago, with many other places and people in between, I now dance professionally.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?

Yes, and no. I have had my privileges as well as my obstacles, which more personal than anything else. Figuring out how to carry myself and developing a stronger, rather, more solid sense of self is easier said than done.

What personal limitations if any did you go through in your young career?

COMPARISON. I had to learn that I’ll never be good at being someone else besides myself. No one else can be me, so instead I work to be better than myself.

Has anybody ever tried to limit you on what you could do? If so how did you fight it?

I personally take issue with tokenism and typecasting. I have been trying to figure out how to handle these issues with grace for a while now.

How do you conquer negative talk?

A support system that reminds you of who you are and what you’re capable of is always great, but, you have to learn to know this and remind yourself. I stay away from people who don’t mean well when I don’t have to be around them, and I sometimes have to pray for God to give me strength in the moments where I have to be. I am also very willing to stand up for myself (and others) if need be.

What is your favorite quote?

“Once you know better, do better.”

So, what’s next? Any big plans?

Hoping to be back to work full time soon in spite of the current pandemic.

Nov 24, 2020

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