Do you remember the first time you really did something on your own?
This week’s Positively Cincinnati took me back to my first bit of independence. I was a 16-year-old foreign exchange student in Germany. A kid getting to see the world.
What a feeling: Exciting. A little scary. Liberating. New. And only possible because my parents loved me enough to let me go for those five weeks.
Perhaps that’s why I felt an immediate connection with Salomé Tregre. She is the remarkable 14-year-old I interviewed for this story. Just a few weeks ago, she found herself at that tender place that still lives large in my own memory. It was about to be her moment to take a big step away from childhood, and into her adult future.
At her young age, Salomé is already an accomplished dancer. She told me, for her, ballet is “sort of like breathing.” She works on her beloved art form at the Cincinnati Ballet’s Academy.
Her dedication has not gone unnoticed. Salomé recently accepted an invitation to a summer intensive in Kansas City.
“It’s sort of like a summer camp, but for ballet dancers, where we dance for about nine hours a day,” she said.
It would require her to leave home for the first long stretch of time in her young life. And it would require her two biggest fans - her parents - to let go of their little girl for the first time.
“That’s gonna be difficult for us," said Calvin, Salomé's father. "I think we’ve never been apart from Salomé for more than two or three days.”
You could see it tug on their hearts - even as those hearts soared with the hope and promise of their talented daughter’s future.
This is a child who said, “A good day is walking into the studio, having a focused mindset, and really being able to give a full effort to that class. To show the instructor you’re there, and present, and really dedicating yourself to this art form.”
Knowing how much Salomé loves to dance made that first trek away from home inevitable and lovely.
“I can only be supportive when she’s that committed and disciplined in something she’s passionate about,” said Ebony, Salomé's mother.
And so goes shepherding a child. Ebony and Calvin have done everything they can to make sure Salomé will fly when the time comes. This was a preview of what that will look like.
And it was a beautiful glimpse.