By Abby Boldy

I wanted to soar. I wanted to feel in flight as I moved around the dance floor. For a dancer, the studio is more than a training location. Because we spend countless hours mastering skills in a studio, this space transforms into a safe, reliable second home. Like a fledgling bird who only knows the security of their parent’s nest, for thirteen years I only knew my studio. Leaving after so many years is as monumental as a bird leaving its nest to fly on its own.

But what happens when the new place you are stepping out into is no longer a place people are flocking to in order to achieve their dreams? Where do you go and how will you fly? Do you follow the flock or go out on your own, spreading your wings in order to find and create more for yourself?

After thirteen years, I chose to leave the protective shelter of my first studio. Attending the Joffrey Ballet Dance Intensive in New York City during my sophomore year of highschool affirmed my desire to pursue dance and my future goals to live and perform in New York City. At this intensive, I was taught by a plethora of professionals from around the world and learned lessons more important than just dance steps. Glancing at my reflection, I noticed my leg extensions were not as high as those around me, and the girl next to me was picking up the choreography faster than I was. During combinations, I struggled to execute unfamiliar movements. I lacked the technique and stylization of those my age. Being immersed in New York City, a city bursting with talent at its seams, made me ponder my training. My eyes were opened to the numerous talented dancers. This epiphany was a turning point influencing me to change the caliber of my training. It became clear that leaving my familiar environment for one more focused on career level dance was the sole way I would develop characteristics capitalizing on my potential. I had to take a flying leap out of my nest.

I felt terrified and exhilarated. Dancing into the unfamiliar is a daunting feat to overcome. I needed to step out of my comfort zone, but I was nervous. I boldly uprooted myself and moved to another studio where my training was tailored towards students who wish to pursue dance careers. I dove head first into my heightened training. I pushed myself beyond my limits, striving to reach new ceilings. Like a bird who views the world from a new perspective, I too had a chance to see my life from another point of view. Flying above the horizon, a bird can see much more of the world than if it would have stayed in its nest. From my horizon, I saw unlimited possibilities.

When it came time to audition for college dance programs, I felt well-prepared as a result of the training received at my new studio. My hard work paid off when I was accepted into many well-known dance programs including that of Marymount Manhattan College and The Ohio State University. Now I faced another difficult decision - did I want to stay in Ohio and attend a school where I knew everyone and not pursue dance but rather a safer and more stable career, or did I want to move to New York City, an unfamiliar and massive city, and launch myself into rigorous training to pursue dance.

As if the college decision process is not already stressful enough, being a 2020 graduate during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic caused individuals like myself to question leaving home at all. Not only is leaving home to move to one of the biggest and most populated cities in the world already a difficult decision, but add a global pandemic to the mix. Attending college in a whole new state put the matter of my health, well-being, and safety into question as well.

According to, from the period of 2020-2022 and compared to the rest of the United States, New York state had the “largest annual numeric and percent population decline, decreasing by 524,079 people” (“Growth”). Its population has continued to drop throughout 2023 and is projected to continue doing so with the majority of the declining population leaving the city. During the period of July 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021, Manhattan, a cultural capital known to be the home of Broadway and many dance companies, accounted for one in three NYC residents who left or died during the pandemic (Bhat). Not only did individuals rapidly flee from New York City as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but with recent inflation, increased prices, and crime rate increasing, individuals are continuing to rapidly flee from the city. Moving to NYC has been a risk before, but has become even more over recent years with the hasty exodus from New York.

While New York City is floundering in other areas, NYC is one of the most cutting edge art cities in the world, making it still the place to be for artists, dancers, actors, and dreamers. It is bustling and bursting with creativity. As an individual wishing to pursue a career in dance, I knew New York City was where I needed to be, even if the majority of the world was telling me it was not. The burning question ever present in the back of my mind was, “Is the reward worth the risk?”

Needless to say, I knew that I would regret not venturing out from Ohio and following the dreams that I had fostered since I was young. Pursuing dance was too important not to go to NYC. I decided on Marymount. I picked up my life and moved to New York City at eighteen, and have not looked back. Reflecting on my past decisions, as a graduating senior at Marymount Manhattan College, pursuing a BFA in dance as well as a BA journalism major, I know that my decision to move to New York and pursue a degree and future career in dance was the right choice for me. With the direction of my professors as well as the creative inspiration of New York City’s community, I have discovered more about myself as an artist, choreographer, dancer, and performer than I ever could have imagined if I never spread my wings and left home.

Works Cited
Bhat, Suhail. “NYC’s Population Plummeted during Peak Covid - and It’s Still Likely

Shrinking.” The City, 31 May 2022, d-its-still-likely-shrinking.

“Growth in U.S. Population Shows Early Indication of Recovery amid Covid-19 Pandemic.” Census.Gov, 3 Apr. 2023,

Meet Abby Boldy

Abby Rose Boldy is a senior double majoring in dance (BFA) and journalism (BA) and is following a pre-law track. Her dream is to dance professionally and perform on Broadway. After a career of professional dancing, she plans on attending law school and becoming a criminal or intellectual property lawyer. When she’s not dancing, she’s reading, writing, drawing, painting, listening to music, or talking nonstop.
Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff