Lillia Kaye dances her way through life


Courtesy of Lillia Kaye

By Alex Hartleb

Roughly one year ago, current sophomore Lillia Kaye rushed down to the music department hall in order to warm up for the long night ahead of her. She then spent the next few hours training hard in the art of ballet  until she arrived home near 7 or 8 p.m.

Kaye then worked on her homework until midnight, only to get up at 5:30 a.m. and start the cycle anew. To this day, Kaye’s dedication to ballet remains as high as ever. 

Kaye took her first dancing classes when she was very young, around the age of 5 or 6, starting with a mix class of ballet and tap. She initially hated ballet and decided to stop dancing for a few years, until one day, she decided she wanted to choreograph her own dance down in her basement. There she discovered a new form of movement, and from that point forward, her passion has only grown.

Kaye spends 5 days a week at ballet classes at Judith Svalander School of Ballet in Crystal Lake, Illinois, and dedicates herself at home in order to further her goal to become a professional ballerina, a career choice she has never doubted since the start. But a dancer’s life is never easy and ballet has a huge mental component that needs to be overcome. 

“If you have a bad class one day, it can directly translate to feeling horrible about yourself,” Kaye said. “It is a huge mind game, so just finding ways to separate my classes from my life because I have found that you cannot make ballet your entire life. You can’t put everything on ballet because if it fails or you have a bad day, then everything else will go poorly.”

With the emotional support of her family, Kaye is able to continue putting in hard work in order to see moments of progression. Seeing all her hard work pay off with progression is one of Kaye’s favorite aspects of ballet. 

“You never reach perfection with any given step. No matter how good you are, you can always get better at something,” Kaye said. “Your success is a direct representation of the work you put in, and you don’t see progress day to day, but maybe once every month or so, you see a glimpse of progress and it is very satisfying.”

In the future, Kaye’s big dream would be to perform for her favorite ballet company, The Royal Ballet, in England. After high school, she hopes to be following her dream and auditioning for companies in either Western Europe or somewhere here in the U.S.