I grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, the sixth child of seven. My parents believed in exposing each child to travel, music, dance, education, and animals. My older siblings took tap and ballet dance classes at the local dance studio, and my mother enrolled my younger brother and me as well when we each turned five. We had fun performing in yearly recitals. After school I would water and feed the horses, rabbits, barn cats, and dogs on our property, then trudge off to dance classes for the evening.
After a while it became obvious that I had talent in ballet, so the local studio owner recommended that I attend summer sessions in Akron with the Ohio Ballet Company. I quickly moved into the higher levels and was asked to become an apprentice with the company when I was in high school. I attended higher-level high school classes in the morning; then my mother drove me to Akron for ballet classes six days a week. I eventually performed at E.J. Thomas Hall in Akron with Ohio Ballet.