Originally from Winter Park, 16-year-old ballet dancer Chloe Misseldine moved to New York City for a spot with the American Ballet Theatre’s junior company.
Chloe Misseldine always hoped to perform ballet in New York City. She just didn’t expect to do it so soon.
“I’ve always wanted to come to American Ballet Theatre; it was my goal to join next year,” Misseldine said. “New York has been my favorite city; I enjoy it so much. It’s so different from what I’m used to.”
Misseldine, 16, a Winter Park local and former member of the Orlando Ballet school, moved recently to New York City to perform in the American Ballet Theatre. According to Diedre Miles Burger, director for the Orlando Ballet School, Misseldine is a special case.
“It’s unusual to have a (16-year-old) student achieve a position in such a prestigious company,” Burger said. “It’s pretty unprecedented.”
ORLANDO BALLET BABY
Although she has been with the Orlando school since she could walk, Misseldine only became serious in her dancing ambitions a few years ago. Last year, she stopped attending Lake Highland Preparatory school in favor of being homeschooled to focus more on her dancing.
“Chloe’s an Orlando Ballet baby,” said Yan Chen, Chloe’s mother and the Orlando Ballet master. “She’s been in the school since she was 3 or 4 … at the beginning, it was just fun for her. I think not until recently she really started becoming serious about dancing.”
Watching her daughter move away was a complicated, if familiar, experience for Chen. She left her home and family in China at 16 to study abroad in the United States.
“It was exciting when I left; I wanted to pursue a whole new world,” Chen said. “Now I’m in my mother’s shoes, seeing my daughter go, and it’s hard. I’ve been with her for so long. … Deep down, I don’t want her to go but I know it’s where she needs to be.”
Misseldine has been something of a world traveler of late. She recently competed at the Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland in late January. The performers at the Prix de Lausanne were tasked with performing a classical variation and a contemporary variation that they learned from provided videos.
She decided to turn heads with her contemporary performance.
“‘Solo for Diego,’ the piece I chose, was actually supposed to be choreographed for a man,” Misseldine said. “Out of everybody, only three girls did it. You have to wear pants, a white dress shirt and a tie for the costume.
“The dancing and the techniques were more suited for a men, the jumps and turns were harder and more complex for a female contemporary. In my opinion, I stood out, because not many girls did it.”
From there, Misseldine accepted an invitation to be one of 12 dancers in New York’s American Ballet Theatre junior company.
“Originally, (the invitation) was supposed to start next year in August, but they had an opening spot, and they said I could come if I wanted to,” she said. “So of course I took it.”
Performing with the new company is even more training intensive, with Misseldine spending several hours a day dancing. Whereas Misseldine previously trained for months on end for one or two performances a year, she now learns different routines for the school’s various repertoires performed across the world. She recently wrapped a three-day tour with the company in St. Louis and is planning for a performance in London later this year. She hopes to stay with the junior company for the next year and then gain an apprentice contract with the main company.
“I want (ballet) to be my career,” Misseldine said. “You work for it; you’ve made dancing your whole career every day. Every day, all those hours performing are just to get on stage.”