Spotlight on the Dancer: Kirsten Bloom Allen

For our first program of the season, Septime Webre’s The Great Gatsby, we are extremely fortunate to have principal guest artists Jared Nelson and Kirsten Bloom Allen join us to portray Jay Gatsby and Daisy Fay Buchanan.  Mr. Nelson retired from The Washington Ballet this past spring and has come out of retirement to reprise this role which he originated.  Mrs. Allen retired from the Sacramento Ballet in 2010 to start her family, but performed Sugar Plum Fairy in Sacramento Ballet’s Nutcracker in 2014 and is now making her debut as Daisy in our production of The Great  Gatsby.  We couldn’t be more pleased to have them both!


This week we had the chance to speak with Kirsten about her very first ballet class, her family, and her long partnership with Mr. Nelson.


Tess: Can you tell us how you started dancing? Being a ballet dancer is not the easiest career; what pushed you to pursue a career in dance?


Kirsten Bloom Allen: I remember my first ballet class vividly, even though I was only five years old at the time.  That’s the same age as my oldest son, Ben!  I really never wanted to do anything else.  Even during that very first class I felt something really important was happening in that studio.  It felt like a special place and I loved being there.


T: It seems many female dancers struggle with balancing their careers and creating a family, especially given how physical our work is.  You have two young sons, and though you took a few years off you’ve been dancing up a storm the past few years!  When you retired from Sacramento Ballet, did you intend to return to the stage after starting your family?


KBA:  When I retired from Sacramento Ballet I was three months pregnant with our first son, Ben.  I honestly didn’t know where life was taking me, I just dived into motherhood and I’ve loved every minute of it!  Shortly after we had Ben, we discovered we were pregnant with our second son, Nate, who’s now three.  With two young boys, I didn’t have much time to think about dancing again, but, once the boys were out of infancy, the desire to dance came back and I performed the Sugar Plum Fairy with Sacramento Ballet in 2013.  I meant to perform one Alumni Performance with them, but due to injuries in the company I wound up doing many more shows!  Shortly after that Jared and I started meeting in the ballet studio here in San Diego to put together a few contemporary duets .  He and I have been dancing together ever since!


T: Speaking of Jared, how did you two meet?  Can you tell us what your first experience was dancing together?


KBA: Oh, Jared and I met at Sacramento Ballet when I was 21 and he was 16.  Right away our directors loved our chemistry.  We were put together as partners and danced absolutely everything together: classical ballets, Balanchine works, and contemporary repertoire.  We grew very close and have danced together and been dear friends for nearly 20 years!  The first year we did Nutcracker together we were cast as Sugar Plum and Cavalier, and even though we rehearsed for hours and hours in the studio, we would still co home and lie on the floor, hold hands, and just listen to our music.


T: What an wonderful partnership!  It’s been a while since you two danced together in Sacramento, how do you feel your partnership has developed since then?


KBA:  Jared left Sacramento in 2000 to dance as a principal with Washington Ballet in DC, but he returned often each season to guest with Sacramento Ballet.  Each time he returned we would reignite our partnership and continued to love dancing together.  I feel our partnership has grown deeper over the years and I believe we ignite each other on many different levels and find a deeper passion for dance through one another.


T: That sounds like a true partnership.  You two are partners for your own charitable organization as well, The Artist Society.  Can you speak about what motivated you to form the organization?  What do you see for its future?


KBA: The Artist Society is a performing arts group that joins art with giving back to the community.  Jared and I both believe very strongly in the power and beauty of these elements!  We had a wonderfully successful performance in June to support Shriners Hospital for Children in Sacramento, and we’re in the process of creating our next show!


T: That sounds wonderful!  Thank you so much for taking the time to share with us!  Is there anything else you’d like to say?


KBA: Of course!  Jared and I are very excited to be dancing with California Ballet Company for The Great Gatsby.  There’s such a swirl of excitement around this production!  It is, without a doubt, the most spectacular ballet San Diego has produced.


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