Joffrey Ballet dancer Lucia Connolly, born and raised in Pacific Palisades, is back home to dance in Barak Ballet’s June 28 and 29 “New Repertoire” performance at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica.
“I love being home,” Connolly told the Palisadian-Post. “I get to live with my parents and see my brother and sister who are both living their lives in LA. It’s really nice to come home and see all of them.
“Barak Ballet rehearses at Westside where I grew up. It’s like my home. Now I get to come back as a professional and do what I love.”
An alumna of the Westside Ballet School, Connolly began her career as a protégé under the tutelage of late Westside Ballet icon Yvonne Mounsey, who also taught Melissa Barak, currently a Westside Ballet School teacher and the founder and artistic director of Barak Ballet.
Both Barak and Connolly also attended the School of American Ballet (Connolly graduating in 2016), where Connolly was scouted by Joffrey Ballet Director Ashley Weider.
“It’s been a great experience relocating to Chicago. It was definitely easier than when I first relocated to New York in high school,” Connolly shared with the Post. “It’s a great city with tons of different people. It is a little cold, but that’s to be expected.”
Connolly returns to Chicago for a 40-week season July 22, beginning with Joffrey Ballet’s full-length choreographed performance of “Jane Eyre.”
“I’ll be sad to go back, but at least it will still be warm in Chicago,” Connolly said with a laugh. “Being in LA is kind of like a vacation, but I’m excited to see all my friends again.”
On June 8 Connolly danced in the Westside Ballet Gala performance of “Balcony Pas de Deux” from Krzysztof Pastor’s “Romeo and Juliet” alongside Joffrey Ballet leading dancer Dylan Gutierrez. Currently in rehearsals ahead of her June 28 performance, Connolly said she is excited to return to where her career began—this time as a professional.
“I really enjoy dancing for Barak Ballet and for Melissa, one of my old teachers at Westside, to get to come home during my off season and dance for her is really special,” Connolly said. “It’s also a totally different experience working with a woman, and I really appreciate that.
“Dancing has given me this great community. I think that’s a big part of why I do it. The dance community is really strong and you can make really great friends. I also think it’s so beautiful and doing something that brings beauty into the world is a great thing.”
For ticketing and showtime information, visit barakballet.org.