Tag Archives: Bolshoi Theatre

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

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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)