Dancer Spotlight: Rebecca Johnson By Forrest Preece
OK. I’ve found a close second to Matthew Cotter as far as when a BA dancer started lessons. Matthew, as you may recall, was in his mother’s womb when she was in ballet class.
But Rebecca started at age two. She would sit in her mother’s studio in Iowa City, play with her coloring books, and watch what the “big girls” were doing. One day she told her mother “I can do a shuffle ball-change and plies.”
Her mother was skeptical, but after Rebecca executed some nice versions of those moves, she said, “You look better than some of the five-year-olds I have in class.”
So she started taking “for real” and that’s how her story starts.
(Her mother is a remarkable story in her own right, by the way. During her childhood in Utah, she contracted a disease that had left her crippled. The physicians now think that she had polio. At the time, she was told to start taking dancing lessons to increase her strength and coordination. By the time she reached high school age, she was teaching dancing herself and was a star baton twirler in the band—double batons, no less! That’s where she met her husband, who was a sax player.)
But back to Rebecca. She started taking lessons at a more serious level and she was doing stage work in musicals along the way. “My parents moved us to Ann Arbor, Michigan. I really got hooked on tap dancing, as well,” she says. “That was my big love for some of my teen years.”
But by the time she was 16, she decided that ballet was her real love and begged her parents to send her to a boarding school in Lynchburg, VA. READ MORE