On Tuesday evenings, neighborhood resident Sarah Marr leads a group of teenagers through leaps, pirouettes and other ballet steps at the Dallas Ballet Center.
The students listen to her every word as she gracefully moves across the room, answering questions and offering guidance on their dancing.
Marr’s life has come full circle at the Dallas Ballet Center. As a young girl and teenager, she studied dance at the school. After graduating from Lake Highlands High School, she took an apprenticeship at Austin Ballet and danced professionally with the company for a few years. When she moved back to Dallas with her husband, Brian, she joined the Metropolitan Classical Ballet in Arlington and began teaching classes at the Dallas Ballet Center.
“I literally thank God every day,” Marr says. “If I said when I was in high school this is my dream, I would have said that’s not possible.”
Becoming a professional ballerina is difficult. Most young dancers drop out of high school to follow their dreams. But Marr did it differently. She was devoted to ballet as a teenager and was equally involved in school, extra-curricular activities and her friends.
When she saw a professional touring company perform the Nutcracker one year, she knew she wanted to be a professional ballerina, so she tried out for Austin Ballet’s apprenticeship and was accepted. When all of her friends went to college, she traveled to Austin and danced Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“That was definitely a challenging experience,” Marr says. “Just seeing what it took to be a professional dancer.”
Marr is obviously committed, even dancing and teaching classes at the Dallas Ballet Center through her pregnancy. Judy Klopfenstein, who owns the center with her husband Brent, says it’s unusual for dancers to find that balance that Marr has.
“It worked out beautifully,” Klopfenstein says. “It came full circle…I feel like a grand-ballet-parent.”
Marr dances a few times a week with the Metropolitan Ballet. When her son Campbell was a baby, she brought him to class and danced while he played or someone else held him. Now her mother, Donna Jenkins, and mother-in-law, Beverly Marr, take turns watching him.
“Being a mom has made me a better dancer,” Marr says. “Before, it was so intense, so self-focused. He brought the joy back to dancing. It’s a little break…it recharges my battery. “I want to dance as long as it’s good for my family. I believe dance will always be a part of my life.”