In Pursuit of Perfection

The Life of a Young Ballerina

Five minutes until curtain,” someone says over the intercom as nerves tense and hearts race. For Delci Syvertson, a 15-year-old girl aspiring to be a professional dancer, the seconds before stepping onstage are filled with a nervous excitement that changes with each role she performs.

“It’s like all adrenaline,” she laughs. “You have to pee really bad for 20 seconds and then it stops.”

Syvertson started dancing when she was three or four at Dancing for Joy in Bellingham. She began with contemporary and jazz, but eventually found her way to ballet after her mom suggested it. At first she hated ballet, but after she transitioned to the Northwest Ballet Theater in downtown Bellingham she began to fall in love with it.

Outside of school Syvertson spends around 16 hours dancing each week. Sometimes balancing school and ballet can be difficult, especially when she has less free time than her friends at school, she says.

Director of Northwest Ballet Theater John Bishop cast Syvertson as Lucy, one of the lead roles, in his original production of Dracula. She felt this role helped her strengthen her technique and partnering skills.

Syvertson hopes to attend a dance program at either the University of Washington or Cornish College of the Arts.

Even though she is constantly busy with school and ballet, Syvertson can’t imagine her life without dance, she says.

“Dance is my life.”