Sometimes in life, it takes losing something to truly know what it means to us. This sentiment rings true for Vivian LaCerda, a member of Cincinnati Ballet’s Professional Training Division, who discovered her intense passion for dance after an injury put her on the sidelines.
After suffering from a hip injury going into seventh grade, LaCerda, who has been dancing since she was three, quickly realized how easy it would be to give up dancing.
However, LaCerda discovered her true passion for dance, noting that if her motivation had not waned through all of this pain and frustration, that this is truly her path.
“It could’ve been really easy to lose motivation and quit,” LaCerda said. “But I decided to stay here and not give up. This is definitely what I want to do.”
A student of dance from a young age, LaCerda has always positioned dance as her passion for perfection and as her solace.
“I’m a perfectionist and I’m always trying to improve myself,” LaCerda said. “But I remember coming home as a little girl and telling my mom that dance was a place I could just think and not be stressed.”
LaCerda, who had been a student at Cincinnati Ballet’s Otto M. Budig Academy since the age of six, took her time getting her strength back. She even switched to a smaller studio, Northern Cincinnati Youth Ballet, from 2013-2017, to really focus on rebuilding her strength and technique.
“I loved it here, and there were great teachers,” LaCerda said of the Otto M. Budig Academy. “But I needed to go somewhere smaller.”
Her hard work paid off and this past year Sarah Hairston, Cincinnati Ballet’s Director of Academy Training, invited LaCerda to join Cincinnati Ballet’s newly formed Professional Training Division.
LaCerda jumped at the opportunity to not only return to the Academy and her former teachers, including Hairston, but to train in this pre-professional program. The idea of having the opportunity to dance most of the day, every day, sounded like the perfect opportunity for LaCerda and her path, stating that she recognized she was in need of a more complete and rigorous program.
“I was ready to train full time and wanted the experience of being a professional dancer someday,” LaCerda said. “My goal in dance is to graduate from one of the premier college ballet programs and then join a professional ballet company.”
As a Cincinnati native, LaCerda has grown up with a formidable ballet company in her backyard. Knowing the caliber of performance, artistry, and training Cincinnati Ballet offers was instrumental in choosing this program for LaCerda, and the proximity to her family did not hurt.
“The PTD program is unlike anything else available in this region and I am so honored to be part of it,” LaCerda said. “I love that you get to experience company life while you’re still a student.”
LaCerda is looking forward to the many varied opportunities this program brings to the dancers; from the training, to performance opportunities, to all of the extracurricular classes the students can take, like character and Pilates.
“Definitely the training sounded amazing, but you also get to take classes like character,” LaCerda said. “Also performance opportunities, and the chance to perform and rehearse with the Cincinnati Ballet Company.”
LaCerda is hoping to take all she is learning with the Professional Training Division and transfer that into a top college program, focusing in performance, and then a career with a professional company. After her career, LaCerda would like to go back to school and complete a degree in physical training to aide other dancers.
When asked if her Walnut Hills High School peers understand her commitment to dance and why she leaves every day after AP English, she said, “No. But they will.”