I met Mae when we were both 15 attending the Joffrey Ballet School Summer Intensive in NYC. We met again last year, more than 10 years later and immediately clicked again. Mae is the first dancer I danced with when starting Unfinished People, one of my closest friends, and my roommate. She is fearless not only in the studio, but in the beautiful way she lives life and I admire her so much. I feel so lucky to dance with her again.
Mae Chesney is from Baltimore, Maryland, began training at the Gniazdowski Studio of Ballet and continued her studies at the Baltimore School for the Arts. She has attended training programs with Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Joffrey Ballet and Washington Ballet. Mae earned her BFA in Dance from the University of Cincinnati College–Conservatory of Music. There, she worked with Maureen Fleming, Frederic Franklin, Vivi Flindt, Ka Ron B Lehman, Deirdre Carberry, and Jiang Qi. Mae was a principal dancer with Columbus Dance Theatre and Peninsula Ballet Theatre, performing leading roles in The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Le Corsaire, and in George Balachine’s Walpurgusnacht and Pas de Dix. Recently, she performed with Unfinished People in the Salon at LEVYdance. Mae joined Menlowe Ballet in the spring of 2015.
Being grown up is finding time to relax. You know, the summer days you spend making iced tea, cooking a good meal, going for an evening walk? It’s funny because that is what we get when we’re kids and sometimes being grown up feels like trying to get back to that. We get so caught up in trying to make it that we forget to breath.
Being grownup is being able to support yourself while doing what you love, or at least it should be. But it is also knowing when to ask for help. Whether it is asking for advice, help with rent, or simply asking for company it is a humbling experience. I know that especially being an artist, life is hard. Though doing what you love is priceless, it almost never pays enough. It is easy to over work yourself and being grown up is knowing when to take a break and ask for support.
Being grown up is being able to take full responsibility for your identity. I used to question why I dance, especially in college, not because I wanted to quit, but because I felt there was so much more I could be doing. I used to question my decision on a regular basis, which I think was really important. I am at a place now where I can let myself be a dancer and enjoy all the trials and tribulations that come with that identity.
Being grown up is being able to collaborate. Not only in the dance studio, but in life. Our creative process was highly collaborative and I felt a huge responsibility for the movement I generated. Being able to depend on Rosalia to edit and put together the piece made being vulnerable and creative less scary. Trusting other people in a collaborative nature feels like growing up. It leaves no room for self doubt. I have discovered in being a part of this process that it is as imperative as it is wonderful to work together.