Bryn Michaels Online
I’ve met remarkable people in cyberspace. Among them, 15-year-old Chicago ballerina Bryn Michaels. At 15 she’s pushing 5’10” (~176cm) and in pointe shoes she’s got an amazing line that just seems to never end. In Michaels the intense physicality of ballet and the visual and conceptual qualities of cyberspace meet. She mixes both as she explores herself and her artistry.
Like 24,641 other peeps, I follow Bryn Michaels on Instagram. When she posts a remarkable photo of herself dancing, she gets thousands of likes and dozens of comments. Meanwhile over on Ask.fm Michaels gets a steady stream of questions. Curious questions. Compliments. Sometimes insulting or challenging questions. She answers them all with generosity, poise, and grace. How someone so young, who has both been given, and worked so hard for, so much talent and ability, can be so patient and giving, continuously amazes me. She’s totally focused on her art, and still manages to try to have a real connection to 24,641 people. Michaels answers the challenging questions with tact. She answers the compliments with grace and humility. And for the advice seekers, she’s always informative and encouraging. Thinking about body image? Michaels replies with empowering, deeply thoughtful perspective. Want to know how to break in your new toe shoes? She offers her technical details. (in the 24 hours since I typed “24,641” her followers have increased to “24,729”)
Bryn Michaels, Ballerina
It’s crazy to remember how many years Fiona and I took ballet class. And, OMG, I’ve got a BFA in choreography from HKAPA! Seeing Michaels’ talent, dedication, and grace, makes it clear that I was never really a ballerina. Not like Michaels.
Someone with Bryn Michaels’ talent, poise, relentless line, and beauty could really piss you off! The thing is, “lucky” as Michaels is, it’s impossible to hate her when you see how hard she works, how humble she is, and how generous she is. If you scroll through her Ask.fm you’ll see lots of peeps amazed that she isn’t 20 instead of 15. It is amazing. Bryn Michaels has wisdom, strength, and clarity beyond her years.
Bryn Michaels, NYC
This summer Michaels is off to NYC for a “summer intensive.” Of course she’s sharing the work and the joy with friends and audience. Those who take class with her. Those who admire from afar.
A line that never ends.
And dreams of, duh, a great career in ballet! For sure she should follow that dream. For sure. But is there anything else she should be thinking about? Like she has time?
Michaels is living such a full, engaged life. Probably the worst thing I could do is open my mouth and suggest anything. It seems unlikely that anything she might do could be better than what she’s already doing with such dedication and grace. Therefore I will, of course, open my mouth and suggest something.
IDK how many people know of Bryn Michaels in Chicago. Whatever the number might be, I’m sure it is growing. But what of the tens of thousands who can’t even see her dance? Fans who follow along just to appreciate a frozen moment on her Instagram? There are great things in Michaels’ future. We are also in a time of new media, and new possibilities. I’m sure there are not any spare minutes in her day. Still. A modest Kickstarter project? A dance video? A live event? A mixed media collaboration? It would be great to see Michaels’ take the new media tools that she’s already shown such fluency and success with, and her talent and drive, and create something to share with her growing virtual community.
Oh, PS: To Michaels’ parents out there somewhere. No doubt you know how much she’s already achieved. You probably deserve a lot of the credit. Who knows how much time and money you may have poured into her art. I’m ignorant of any details here and speaking out of turn, but I just wanted to say congratulations. I can’t imagine how proud you must be. Your daughter is an amazing person. Way to go parents!