Ballerina Kirsten Bloom-Allen danced with the Sacramento Ballet from 1995 until her retirement four years ago.
She began her professional career as a ballerina at age 17 — a career that spanned 19 years.
Kirsten retired to begin a new phase of her life. She was three months pregnant when she danced her last ballet — Sleeping Beauty.
Kirsten told me in an interview that being with child, she “could not focus her energy on anything else.” Her yet-to-be-born son was “all that mattered.”
She quickly fell into the role of being a mom. Kirsten said that being a ballerina and being a mother are very similar. “As an artist on stage, it's all about giving. You're giving every bit of your heart, your energy, your soul out there on stage, and it is the same way as a mom,” she said.
Sacramento Ballet's Artistic Directors Ron Cunningham and Carrine Binda maintained contact with Kirsten, a dancer they had grown to love. The feeling was mutual. Kirsten said that she wanted to do something special for Carrine's 25th anniversary with the Sacramento Ballet. She said Carrine asked her to dance in this year's "The Nutcracker."
Kirsten agreed and began training in a ballet studio in San Diego where she resides with her husband and two boys. She trained about two hours a day, four to five days a week to prepare for her role as Sugar Plum Fairy while maintaining her primary role as mother to her boys, one-and-a-half and three-and-a-half years old.
The Sacramento Ballet was excited and Kirsten Bloom-Allen was scheduled to dance as the Sugar Plum Fairy at the Dec. 22nd evening performance at the Sacramento Community Center Theater.
Little did Kirsten know that she would journey to Sacramento a week earlier to dance as the Sugar Plum Fairy in three additional shows.
But an unfortunate turn of events had the retired dancer on a plane from San Diego to Sacramento on Friday the 13th to perform on the 14th and 15th before hopping back on the plane for the flight back home.
Alexandria Cunningham, a principal dancer scheduled to dance eight of the 13 shows as the Sugar Plum Fairy, was nursing a knee injury when she performed on opening night which I reviewed. She also danced the following day. But upon consulting with doctors who determined her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) was severely torn, Alexandria was advised to step out of the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy, a very technical routine, because it put too much stress on her knee.
Cunningham, a very accomplished dancer, had been anticipating knee surgery. During intermission at the Sunday matinee, I spoke with her about the unfortunate consequences of her injury. Still upbeat, she said, “It is what it is.”
Watching Kirsten perform at the Sunday matinee was — in a word — breathtaking! She danced as though she had never been off for a day.
I asked Kirsten if she questioned what she was doing when she boarded the plane. She said, “I definitely felt a bit of nervousness, I guess. I thought, well it's been four years. I've put in the work. I've put in the training, but I'm older now. How am I going to physically hold up?”
Kirsten went onto describe what it was like on stage for the first time in four years. “Once I got on stage, you just get so into the moment. And I had such an amazing partner, Stefan Calka. The music just takes over your body and in a way, it was sort of an out of body experience.”
She continued, “I had a little fear of whether I had the endurance, but when it was all over, I did it! My fear was all for naught.”
The beauty and elegance of Kirsten Bloom-Allen once again graced the stage with the Sacramento Ballet once.
My wife, my daughter who had sat in my lap 16 years earlier at age five and watched Kirsten dance, and my 18 month-old grand daughter were all a part of the audience Sunday that witnessed the beauty and magic of the Sacramento Ballet's performance of “The Nutcracker” and Kirsten as she danced the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy.
It was evident that Kirsten was experiencing that "magical" feeling she described you get as a ballerina and as a mom.
The cast received a lengthy, well-deserved standing ovation.
There are five remaining performances. Kirsten will return for a performance on Dec. 22 and along with her the confidence and ability which was never really absent.
There are only five shows remaining. Get your tickets before they sell out! Roles change from show to show but with the versatile talent of Sacramento's own world-class Ballet, every show will be awesome. Don't miss this show!
Tickets for all shows can be purchased online or at the Ballet box office.
Performance dates with live music:
December 20, 7:00pm
December 23, 1:00pm
Performance dates to recorded music:
December 21, 2:00pm
December 22, 1:00pm
December 22, 5:30pm —ADDED BONUS: Kirsten Bloom performs as the Sugar Plum Fairy