Overcoming downers: the first American Bolshoi ballerina

pic from Joy's Facebook

pic from Joy’s Facebook

Joy Womack could have resigned herself to failure when she was kicked out of the renowned Kirov Academy at age 13. They cited her inflexibility and predicted failure for her.

Joy's hand is raised

Joy’s hand is raised


But Joy didn’t give up. Today the 19-year-old is the first American ever to graduate from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy — and the first American to be contracted by the Bolshoi professionally. (Ok, so she wasn’t good enough for Kirov? Now, she’s winning roles traditionally reserved for Russians at the world’s preeminent ballet company, a reign of unquestioned dominance that has lasted for 200 years.)

Joy, a vibrant, Spirit-filled Christian, embodies her name. She got saved as a child and attended our church before her family moved to Texas. Her Twitter account says “I dance for Jesus.” She evangelizes everyone she meets.

with her dad, Clay Womack

with her dad, Clay Womack

I had scant conversation with her when she was a kid because I was a missionary in Guatemala when she was growing up in the church. But as I think about her overcoming failure, of her rejecting rejection, I’m inspired myself.

“She worked really, really hard,” her mom, Dr. Eleanor Womack, said. “She sought coaches and other techniques to improve her flexibility.” From the looks of the photo above, she’s not lacking flexibility anymore.

The video below was produced by the New York Times when they broke the story of Joy.

Thank you, Joy! (All photos are from Joy’s Facebook page)

32 responses to “Overcoming downers: the first American Bolshoi ballerina

  1. When one’s life has a special calling, there is nothing that can stop it! Great story.

  2. yourothermotherhere


  3. Wonderful!! Thank you for sharing this! πŸ™‚

  4. Beautiful inspiring post. Nothing is impossible with God.

  5. What a beautiful video and inspiring story!

  6. I am showing this to my dancer daughter. It’s nice to see other Christians in ballet like my daughter. It’s a HARD life in so many ways.

  7. That’s incredible! Awesome how God gives us all different talents!

  8. Wow! An amazing story and a tribute to the power of God! (Also, that kind of flexibility is amazing. Definitely NOT a gift God gave me!)

  9. Thank you for sharing Joy’s story. Really enjoyed the video. πŸ™‚

  10. Great story. and thank you for the like and visiting my blog. πŸ˜€

  11. Wow, were they wrong about her flexibility! God knew different.

  12. Wow!! I posted this to my Facebook cuz I was a wannabe ballerina as a little girl. Awesome!

  13. She is someone who perseveres! That is worth commending.

  14. What an inspirational story!

  15. I look forward to more posts of inspirational Christians. Well-done!

  16. Great story! What an inspiration! Thank you for sharing.

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