Reader response: kind words for a ballerina tale

Sometimes it’s the stories you don’t quite expect to, that get one of the warmest responses.

I posted two weeks ago about a story on the secret lives of ballerinas I wrote for the Inquirer.

It came on the same day as my Philadelphia Weekly cover story on suburban rapper Asher Roth. While the Roth profile has gotten more than 40 comments and the glare of Phawker, my ballerina feature has received a small outpouring from pleased readers.

On Facebook, a number of old high school friends noted their interest in it, and I get messages from many others, including my 18-year-old, sports-obsessed cousin. More than a few e-mails came in and on other social media, I was surprised to find a handful of notes from readers.

I put a lot of my freelancing work out there, but I rarely get more than a couple responses at a time. I didn’t expect a quiet story on ballerinas to bring such a response, particularly not on the same day as a big, loud profile on a growing pop icon.

At least one full letter came through the proper Inqy channels, too. See the text of it below.

Dear Mr. Wink,

Our whole family enjoyed your article in yesterday’s Inquirer on the interests of the Pennsylvania Ballet dancers when they are offstage.  Brooke Moore is one of our favorite new ballerinas to watch, and the article caught our attention right away.

Our son and daughter, both young dancers who have danced in PA Ballet’s Nutcracker and other productions, were very interested to read your article. Our children, ages 14 and 11, study with Lisa Collins Vidnovic at Metropolitan Ballet Academy in Jenkintown.  Miss Collins danced with the PA Ballet with both Jeffrey Gribler and Martha Chamberlain, whom you mention in your article.  You may be interested to know that after her career with the PA Ballet, Miss Collins opened and now directs a very successful ballet school with more than 400 students.  Metropolitan Ballet’s acclaimed Boys’ Scholarship Program has over 55 boys enrolled, with an age range of 7 to 18, all of whom study with William DeGregory, another former dancer with the PA Ballet, and current director of PA Ballet II.

Both Miss Collins and Mr. DeGregory have carried their passion for dance into their lives beyond the stage, and more importantly, are instilling an appreciation and love for dance into the next generations through their excellence in teaching, and their graciousness in mentoring. Because a dancer’s stage career does not last forever, it is important for dancers to think beyond the performance moment.

I am so appreciative of the role models my children have in Miss Collins and Mr. DeGregory, and in the dancers they know from the PA Ballet, to help them cultivate their interests and passions.  Many thanks as well for your article which is an inspiration to all young dancers.

Sincerely, Angela C.

See other reader response I’ve gotten for past stories here.

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