Letter to My Teenage Self: Lia Cirio
Commanding, versatile, fearless, sinewy, grounded—it’s impossible to describe multifaceted Boston Ballet principal Lia Cirio in just one word. That’s partly because she’s had a perfectly pointed foot in two distinct corners of the dance world. She joined Boston Ballet II in 2004 and quickly rose through the ranks, becoming a soloist in the main company three years later. Then, Cirio took a yearlong hiatus to tour with the more contemporary Trey McIntyre Project. She returned to Boston Ballet in 2009, was promoted to principal in 2010 and currently performs both contemporary and classical roles. She also dances with the Cirio Collective, created by her brother, English National Ballet lead principal Jeffrey Cirio. Catch Lia with BB this fall in John Neumeier’s Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler at the Boston Opera House. —Jenny Ouellette
There are so many things I want to share with you! You’ll go through a lot in your career—physically, mentally, emotionally and personally. But know that through it all, you’ll maintain your passion for ballet and a joy for life.
I know you worry about having friends. You may feel like something of an outcast now, but friends will come—and they’ll be the ones who count. True friends are those who value you as much as you value them. And watch out for that little brother of yours, Jeffrey! He’ll not only become one of your best friends, but also a big inspiration in your career.
There will be days when you’ll wonder if sacrificing a normal teenage life is worth it—or if it’s just a big waste. But take my word: It’s worth it! You’ll discover so much joy onstage, and you’ll treasure those incredible, indescribable moments forever.
At age 16, performing with Ian Hussey (now a principal at Pennsylvania Ballet) at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (photo courtesy Lia Cirio)
Know that there will be times you’re not cast because of the way you look or because someone doesn’t like your dancing. Don’t waste any energy thinking about how you could change. Be yourself. God made you special. Continue working on your technique, and never compare yourself to others. Hold on to your confidence—it’s so easy to let it slip away. Trust your technique and passion, but remember to watch, learn and never be satisfied. We can’t be perfect, but we can always strive for perfection.
Lia, live your life to the fullest. Ballet is your dream, and it’s such a privilege to be able to dance. Embrace every moment!
P.S.: Listen to Mom! Take it to heart when she says you can do whatever you set your mind to. You’re stronger and smarter than you think!