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The 2015 Perspective

Words can’t really describe 2015 for me. If I had to try, I would find a word that encompassed gratitude, joy, humbling, glee, and fulfillment.

In 2015, I closed and opened new chapters on different sides of the country. My six years with Carolina Ballet have been filled with unbelievable memories, such as {In The Gray} {The Four Temperaments} {Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2}. And if that wasn’t enough for one year, I began a new chapter in Seattle as a member of the Pacific Northwest Ballet.

I moved West with the freedom of starting fresh with all the lessons I learned in North Carolina, and after six months in Washington, I have carved a life that I adore. I am surrounded by an incredibly supportive family of dancers and staff that I feel have been with me my whole life. Each ballet and role is a challenge and I am excited by how much I am going to learn from each artist I am surrounded by each day. I don’t know what I did to deserve such a community.

3 moments that highlighted my 2015:

{In The Gray} Cecilia Iliesiu. Photo taken by Armes Photography, 2015.

{In The Gray} Cecilia Iliesiu. Photo taken by Armes Photography, 2015.

1. My final performance on the Memorial Auditorium stage with my fellow Carolina Ballet dancers. Read the full post on In The Gray {here}. Having a premiere choreographed on me by my dear friend and Resident Choreographer Zalman Raffael was more than I could ask for. I grasped each moment as if it were my last. I danced with the most freedom and I thank Adam for our emotional partnership.


2. The moment I heard that I had been moved roles (in a PNB World Premiere by my SAB colleague {Price Suddarth}) to learn PNB superstar, Carrie Imler’s role. The amount of support I felt from my new dance family was unreal. The evening of my first performance, I remember trying to reassure myself my first solo on the McCaw Hall was going to go well. (May I mention that this solo is a stamina killer!) As I exited the back leg wing to enter the stage, a sense of pride entered my body and I looked into the wings to see all my peers cheering me on. Let me tell you, this type of support in ballet company is not common.

George Balanchine's (The Nutcracker} - The Arabian Peacock. Cecilia Iliesiu

George Balanchine’s (The Nutcracker} – The Arabian Peacock. Cecilia Iliesiu

3. My first performance as the Arabian coffee in Balanchine’s {The Nutcracker}. I couldn’t tell you the countless times I watched this female solo as a child at NYCB and for that Arabian to be me at PNB was extremely humbling. Not only was it my first performance, but it was PNB’s first year presenting Balanchine’s version of (The Nut}. I love the freedom the solo gives each dancer to create her own personality. I used much of the ideas my Carolina Ballet mentor Deborah Austin instilled on me from the six years I danced the Arabian in Robert Weiss’ {The Nut}.



I have a feeling that 2016 will bring incredible experiences for me and my new Seattle family. Thank you for making the Pacific Northwest a great home.


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