By Steve Sucato
In addition to cancelled shows, the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted final performances for many retiring dancers. This week, Pointe is giving several retiring principals and soloists a chance to reflect on their careers and offer advice to the next generation.
Kayla Rowser says her decision to retire from Nashville Ballet after the 2019-2020 season came peacefully. So too, she says, was her coming to terms with how the COVID-19 global pandemic forced her to end her 13-year career there early, without a final onstage farewell.
“I have found so much comfort in looking back at all I’ve been able to experience in this art form,” says Rowser. “My career may not be ending exactly as I always pictured, but it still surpassed my wildest dreams. For that, I will be forever grateful.”
Originally from Conyers, Georgia, Rowser trained at the Magdalena Maury School of Classical Ballet and with Georgia Youth Ballet before dancing professionally with Charleston Ballet Theatre for one season. In 2007 she joined Nashville Ballet’s second company, NB2, and in 2010 was promoted to the main company. The award-winning Rowser has performed a multitude of roles, including Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty and the title role in Paul Vasterling’s Lucy Negro Redux. Sheltered at home in Nashville with husband Nick Tazik, the 31-year-old opened up about her career, being a social advocate and what’s next for her.
How did you know it was time to end your career with Nashville Ballet?
I never really imagined I could do the things I have been able to do in my career. Each year I just re-evaluated if I wanted to keep doing this and I did. But I think there comes a time with dancers when all the other things they want to do that have been on the back-burner start to come to the forefront. That time is now.
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This article first appeared on PointeMagazine.com on May 27, 2020
Steve Sucato is a former dancer turned arts writer/critic. He is Chairman Emeritus of the Dance Critics Association and Associate Editor of ExploreDance.com.