Many people have asked about the stories behind the people on the Big Blue Test video. Today, I’d like to share a couple of them: Zippora and Samantha, the woman and the girl dancing ballet on the video:
Zippora Karz is a former soloist ballerina with the New York City Ballet where she performed for 16 years on stage and in televised performances. Diagnosed with juvenile diabetes in 1987, just as she was being featured in solo roles, she found a way to continue to live her dream despite her illness. Zippora became as passionate about health and healing as she is about dance. She now serves as a teacher and repetiteur for the George Balanchine Trust, rehearsing and staging Balanchine’s choreography for a host of national and international dance companies. She is also a diabetes spokesperson and educator who regularly addresses major diabetes conferences and organizations worldwide, motivating and inspiring people of all ages to live their passion and fulfill their dreams. Her memoir, The Sugarless Plum, details her struggles and triumphs as a ballerina with diabetes.
It was the stuff dreams are made of. It was a magical time. Then my world came crashing down when I was diagnosed with type 1 Diabetes at the age of 21. My body fell apart as I tried desperately to hold on to my dancing and my life. My story is about many things. On the one hand, it is about Diabetes: the insulin shots, the blood sugar management, the diet, the exercise, and the psychological effects of having a disease. It is about overcoming the hurdles and going on to become a soloist ballerina, performing with the New York City Ballet for 16 years, and then becoming a teacher, coach, and repetiteur for the George Balanchine Trust.
Sam is a happy, healthy, active kid, with amazingly good eating habits. She is also a dancer. She’s been dancing almost since she could walk. She dances an average of 20+ hours a week. She takes Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Pilates, Stretch and Turns classes to name a few...
One month after Sam was diagnosed, she competed for the 2009 National Title at “West Coast Dance Explosion” Nationals in Las Vegas. Dancers audition at regional events nationwide to compete for National Title. The National event is a week long Dance Convention and Competition. The dancers take 3 full days of workshop classes (ballet, tap, hip hop, jazz, technique etc), attend 2 auditions (1 ballet and 1 jazz), compete in a solo event and spend evenings in rehearsals learning a big dance number to perform at the closing Gala. Sam placed 4th overall in her age division.
This past year, Sam auditioned for and was accepted to both the American Ballet Theatre’s Young Dancer Summer Program and the Joffrey Ballet Young Dancer Summer Intensive. She attended both 2 week programs in New York.
Sam also attends numerous weekend dance conventions throughout the year. On those weekends, the dancers usually start with a warm up around 8 am and then take up to 5 dance classes throughout the day, ending around 3:30 or 4:00 pm.
With the busy schedule Sam keeps, she remains a straight A student in school.
Has Diabetes slowed her down? Not so much :)