This blog began in 2010 as part of the publisher’s promotional materials for my travel book, The Single Girl’s Guide to Meeting European Men. The book rose to #1 on Amazon’s Best-Sellers List within two weeks of publication, and is still selling. The blog has been expanded to cover my other pursuits.

An International Affair

June, 10, 2011

International AffairLast Friday, I attended opening night of the world premiere of Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Giselle. A team of experts reconstructed this ballet from an international collection of historical papers…a notebook found in a German flea market, an ancient document untouched for decades on a Harvard library shelf, and an 1842 music manuscript. Doug Fullington, PNB’s dance historian and an expert in Stepanov notation―a now-archaic form of classical Russian ballet notation―was an integral part of the team. The rendition they created was breathtaking.

Had it not been for the international nature of PNB and the entire ballet world, I may never have written The Single Girl’s Guide to Meeting European Men. I trained with PNB from the age of five until I went to Vanderbilt. PNB’s school is one of the top three in the nation, so to say it was intense would be an understatement…but I loved it. What I loved most was the camaraderie of the Company and the worldwide ballet community. PNB’s dancers come from countries as diverse as the US, Mongolia, Cuba, Brazil, Bulgaria, Japan, Belgium, and France. Any member of the ballet community is welcomed by others throughout the world. On my way to attend a session of Oxford University, I stopped off in London. Even though I was only there a few days, the Royal Ballet rolled out the red carpet for me. We did the same at PNB for traveling dancers.

My ballet upbringing inspired me to take an international major in college. That gave me the opportunity to study abroad. There I learned the culture of European countries firsthand. Frankly, some of the best learning was outside of the classroom, and some of my best teachers were men who took me on dates. That inspired me to write The Single Girl’s Guide to Meeting European Men. Who says you can’t mix school with pleasure?

Watching PNB’s Giselle reminded me that what I also love about the ballet world is it’s tradition of chivalry. Batkhurel Bold, who played Hilarion, is a perfect example. He was a soloist when I was a 15-year-old student appearing in a PNB performance with him. Before every show, ballet dancers warm up with a class onstage. One day, I missed the warm-up for student performers due to a traffic accident. When I arrived at the Opera House, the Company let me take their warm-up. I planned to stand behind everyone, but Bold believed that a man should always let a lady dance in front of him. Although he was one of the best dancers in the Company, he kept moving behind me…and then I kept moving behind him. Finally, Bold moved so far back that instead of holding onto a ballet barre set up for us onstage, he used one of the light fixtures behind the wings! This is the kind of chivalry inherent in the ballet world!

PNB’s Giselle runs through this weekend. If you live near Seattle, I highly recommend seeing it.

  1. Betty says:

    Beautiful picture! wonderful story of Bold and what inspired you to write your book. Love that chivalry is so valued in the ballet world!

  2. Matt says:

    You look stunning as usual.

  3. Louise says:

    It’s amazing how our past shapes our future. Dance is such a universal language, I’m sure it gave you a strong basis for your international studies!

    p.s. your dress is amazing!

  4. Katie says:

    You are so talented! I had no idea before the talk show and this article that you were such an amazing dancer! Do a skkit that has some of your moves in it xoxox

  5. Katherine Chloé Cahoon says:

    Katie, that would be fun! I’ll start working on a video with dance moves:) Thanks for the suggestion.

  6. Taylor says:

    This is so neat–I’m jealous! Loved reading about ballet and how it partially opened the door that led to you writing the book. I am almost finished and have SO enjoyed it! All of your incredible adventures are so interesting!! 🙂

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