Emma Jones was just 14 years old when she left home to train with the Boston Ballet School. While her ballet training had taught her discipline, the stress of living away from family, dancing full time while completing high school online in her spare time, and figuring out how to care for the every day chores of life has certainly been more of a challenge than most kids her age ever have to face. But she is not in it alone. Emma loves her roommate, Christina, and together they have devised a schedule for cooking, cleaning, taking out the trash. "Having her as a friend has definitely helped with being away from home," she says.
Building strong friendships, maintaining contact with family and taking time for fun activities outside of dance and academics helps to alleviate the added stress and homesickness. With her family five hours away, it can be very hard on those days when Emma could use a hug, a piece of advice, or support with the tedious chores of life. "I Facetime with my family every night, however you don't get the same feeling you do when you are actually next to them talking. It would be nice to come home from a late class and have dinner ready for you, and have someone there to talk to," Emma tells us. But the time away comes with an upside. When she does see her family, the moments are precious and memorable. If anything, being away has brought them closer together.
Finding time to be a "normal teenager" isn't always easy, either. Emma finds most free moments outside the dance studio are devoted to study. "It is so easy to get caught up in trying to get all of the school work done as soon as possible, since there isn't a set schedule in online school," she says. But when she does feel all caught up, she makes time for friends. Dinner and a movie, or just a good old hang session talking, laughing, and crying, all help her feel like she is not alone in the stress of her chosen pursuit.
Ask Emma if it is all worth it and she will give you a resounding YES! She knows what a privilege it is to pursue her passion. She is grateful to be among others who are going through the same trials and triumphs as they follow their dreams. And she loves the city she now calls home. "I've really fell in love with Boston. I love all of the beautiful historic buildings, the cleanliness of the city, and the fact that you still get that city feel without it being too crowded with people." Her level of commitment and training has her poised to join her place among the pros. Her dreams for the future are on their way to becoming a reality and Emma is ready to embrace the journey!
You can follow Emma on Instagram @ballet_evb and her roommate, Christina @c.e.cole_
Boston Ballet School @bostonballetschool