Choreography George Balanchine 
© The George Balanchine Trust
New York City Ballet  
Credit Photo: Paul Kolnik
nyc 212-362-7778
Serenade Choreography George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust New York City Ballet Credit Photo: Paul Kolnik nyc 212-362-7778

To become New York City Ballet’s Soloist is what every ballet dancer dreams of. And it’s not the easiest of dreams. But it’s possible. How? Let’s ask the soloist herself!

Megan Lecrone (32, North Carolina) became NYCB’ Soloist in February, 2013. Her performances emanate magic and passion for dancing. Her life is absolutely dedicated to ballet which translates into audiences falling in love with her fine yet powerful moves. Her motto? BE BRAVE.

 megan lecrone ballet
 Growing up in North Carolina was definitely not like what I experienced after coming to New York. I felt very sheltered there. And my parents didn’t try to help me get more exposure. They supported my endeavors, but they were not initiators for my ballet education at all. Still, I knew there was a bigger world out there but I didn’t have much access to it and what was going on in Dance besides what I would read in a few Dance magazines that I would find around the studio or what I saw on tapes that I would watch in the library, but many of those tapes were out dated.
“I had some good teachers, one of them had been a principal with NYCB, so I’m very thankful for that, and I went to a performing arts high school where I was influenced by many different kinds artists (performers, musicians, composers, visual artists) but overall, I think my training and knowledge of ballet was limited.  At least I felt that way when I got to New York. I realized that had a lot of catching up to do in a short amount of time. I think that’s all changed by now in NC though because people just generally have more access, and quick access, to information. And the schools and teachers are better because people from NY and other parts of the world go there more to give classes, etc. Also, I didn’t grow up using a cell phone or the internet so I didn’t have a vast amount of information readily available at my fingertips.”
I knew I would become a professional ballerina when I realized that you could actually dance for a living, that companies existed and that being a ballerina was a real thing that people actually did. That’s when I decided to go to performing arts high school.  For a long time it was all just like make believe for me. I liked moving and I liked the music and I liked to solve problems with my body, and I liked performing, but I didn’t think about ballet beyond what was happening for me in the studio or in my local performances.
“I’ve had several career-changing points I think. But they were personal to me only I think, not really obvious or publicized. I’ve had a very non traditional trajectory first because I joined NYCB without ever really going to SAB, their school, and then because I had so many injuries and sicknesses very early on in my career.”
I think that Peter Martins took and bing risk by hiring me (so that was a breaking point)  and he also took another one by not letting me go when I was on medical leave which ended up lasting for about 7 years total. When I started to dance again, I had to start over in a way.
“It took a lot of time for me to get back into some of the roles I had been doing and to get promoted to soloist. This past year I’ve been given a lot of new opportunities, including the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker, which is a rite of passage, so I think that getting that role and the roles that have come after it have been big breaking points for me. I’m having them quite late in my career, but it’s still nice and inspiring because there was a time when it looked like I would never dance again or get back to dancing at the level I knew was possible for me.”
“New York hadn’t actually always been my dream. I just wanted to get out of NC, be on my own, and be in a company. I looked into companies in various cities, I really wanted to try Paris but that was just not an option, and I also thought about going to college and getting a nice stable predictable job, if I didn’t get hired anywhere as a dancer.  “
I think I was really afraid to admit that I actually did want to be a ballerina in one of the best companies because I felt so far behind and also because I was afraid it would not happen. If Peter had not taken an interest in me I think things would have turned out very differently. 
The amount of hours I dance a day depends. It varies according to what I’m rehearsing/performing. At the most I work from 1030am to 10pm with a few hours off somewhere in the day.  At the least, an hour a day. I try to take one day a week completely off from activity though to rest and recover. 
The range of emotions  when performing as soloist in the New York City Ballet is so large. Lately I feel more confident and relaxed than I ever have but I think I have the capacity to feel even more ownership of my dancing and feel more relaxed, free, abandoned. That will come I think. I’m working on it, but some things like that you just have to be patient with and not try to force them out of you, otherwise it starts works against you. At least for me.
“I do everything. Or I’ve at least tried it. I had to when I was sick and injured to stay in shape and to keep myself from going crazy. Now, I’m so busy with NYCB that I hardly have time for anything besides what’s work related, but I have tried all of these:
Snow and water skiing, jet skiing, rock climbing, biking, skate boarding, rollerblading, trampoline, swimming, yoga, Pilates, Gyrotonic, running, gym classes, tennis, golf, softball, boxing, hip hop, jazz, broadway/theater dance, you name it, I’ve probably tried it or its on my bucket list”
The most insane experience I’ve ever had as dancer has been working with Paul McCartney on Oceans Kingdom. I had a nice role in that, I was somewhat featured. Anyways, he did the music for it but he would also come to rehearsals and put in  his two cents regarding the dancing or choreography. So I got to interact with him a bit and I have a personalized thank you letter from him which is pretty cool. 
“I prefer ballet rather than modern routines. I like being in pointe shoes. I do like to do more contemporary things, but I prefer that they are still in pointe shoes. I also like dances that are in character shoes… I love some of Bob Fosses work and Balanchine’s Slaughter on 10th ave and Vienna Waltzes.”
“I worked together with my sister Emery Lecrone once. It was a very big project for her, it was shown at the guggenheim, and I was lucky enough to be a part of it. I was working with dancers that I had never worked with before, doing choreography that  I had never done before, and relating to my sister in a way that I had never done before. So even though I really liked it and learned a lot, It was all very new and I felt a bit insecure and stressed. Id like to work with her again at some point, I don’t know if she does… I’m sort of difficult to work with sometimes. I don’t try to be but I’ve been told that lots.”
I love dancing with men. I guess sometimes it’s hard to communicate to each other what you need and want in the dance and to actually do it so both parties are happy…But that happens with anyone 
This is so weird but recently I’ve found motivation from within myself. And I never thought I’d say that. Lately I’ve been focusing a lot on the past… it could be the past moment, the past day, the past month…I’ve been thinking a ton about the past 15 years in general. Doing a lot of reflecting. I can’t help it. Maybe its because I’m in my thirties now? Anyways, I keep remembering all these things I’ve done or said or ways I’ve danced and rehearsed and performed that I’m really really really not happy with, times that I didn’t serve myself well or others well…And that feeling is so awful that it motivates me to keep working on those things and doing my part to change them, so that they get better.  I really have to fight negative thoughts though. I can easily self defeat because I get frustrated if I don’t see results right away!
I’d like to be a principal and I’d like to not have anymore serious injuries or sicknesses. 
Also to be married and have a family. I just want to be a better version of myself. When I was a kid I thought about being an ice skater or vet or surgeon 
Who are you the most grateful for?
Jesus Christ. 
My advice for young dancers? Be brave. 


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