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Dustin Kimball on what ballet means to him

The successful Arlington local shares how he fell in love with the performing arts.

Photo by Aaron Spicer

For most successful ballet dancers, practice starts at a young age. But for Dustin Kimball, a dancer with Bowen McCauley Dance Co. in Arlington, a love of ballet came relatively late in life.

The Army brat spent his high school years at Hayfield Secondary School in Alexandria before heading off to college—where he started ballet classes at age 20. That was more than a decade ago, and today you can find him on stages throughout NoVA and beyond. This month, Kimball will perform with the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra at the George Mason Center for the Arts (March 9, 8 p.m., tickets from $25) and at the annual Move Me Festival at Kenmore Middle School in Arlington (March 16, 1-4 p.m., free).

Here, he shares what ballet means to him.

What brought you to ballet?
I needed some artistic credits so I took Ballet 101 … I honestly really fell in love with it at my first class. It was so physically demanding, but at the same time I just couldn’t get enough of it. I did a lot of martial arts in high school and a few other sports, but this was just so different and so challenging. It was something I suddenly felt like I honestly couldn’t live without.

What is the Move Me Festival?
The Move Me Festival was established about 10 years ago with our partnership with Kenmore Middle School in Arlington. [Performers] from all over Virginia are invited. Other dance schools come in, acting troops, small opera companies, other theater groups. They have little workshops in and around the school that day. On the main stage, there are also performances going on. It’s all completely free. You can come in, take a little Zumba class, then go watch a performance, then go do some face painting. It’s very much a festival. [Bowen McCauley] is usually the closing performance of the day.

Why is community outreach important?
I really think it brings an awareness into the community of what is out there, and I think it kind of sheds a bunch of mystery on what dance is and what we do with our days. A lot of people talk about dancers as these ethereal, unapproachable people. It’s really nice when we get to meet the kids and let them know that some of us live here in Virginia and some of us live in Maryland, and we show them what it takes to be a dancer. [The kids] always really enjoy it … and it makes the arts and dance more accessible.

Quick Hits

  • Favorite place to see a dance performance: George Mason University. They have a lot of really amazing dance performances every year.
  • Favorite local museum: To this day, it has to be Udvar-Hazy out by Dulles. I love that place.
  • Family time: My wife and daughter and I, we love going to Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon. It’s just a wonderful outdoor experience.
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