Westporter dances her way to Boston Ballet

WESTPORT — Paulina Waski was recently announced as one of the many new artists for the Boston Ballet’s 56th season.

However, the Westport native’s journey to the classical ballet company almost didn’t happen.

At the age of 3, Waski’s parents enrolled her in a ballet class, something she didn’t particularly enjoy at the time. She decided to quit, but found herself inspired to return to the art form four years later.

“I started back up again when I was 7 years old when I saw my sister in point shoes and a pretty costume doing Clara in the ‘Nutcracker,’ ” Waski, now 24, recalled, adding she knew then that she wanted to dance. “When I started back up again, I felt this sense of joy dancing that I didn’t feel when I was younger. When I was dancing the whole world would go away.”

A perfectionist, Waski said she was motivated to constantly return to dance and improve her technique. Her passion and motivation would soon draw the attention of nationally recognized ballet schools.

In 2006, Waski attended American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive program and was invited to join the American Ballet Theatre Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. At age 12, Waski placed in the top 12 at the 2008 Youth American Grand Prix, junior division in Philadelphia.

“That was how Franco DeVita, the director of Kennedy Onassis School discovered me,” Waski said.

At the time, she too young to join the program and her family wanted her to finish middle school, so Waski denied the offer and continued to train. After graduating, she returned to ABT, where the offer still stood.

“I was beyond excited,” Waski said of joining the school. “My parents would always take us to see ABT growing up. We had season tickets so we would see them at the Met Opera every summer.”

At her self-described dream school, she would grow into herself as a dancer and adult.

“I basically grew up there,” she said, adding her decision to join the Boston Ballet was almost like leaving home.

“At ABT I got so many opportunities to dance and I got to dance on one of the greatest stages in the world,” Waski said.

After working with ABT for several years, she decided it was time for a change. With family and friends in Boston, Boston Ballet seemed the best of both worlds. The company allowed her to sharpen her classical ballet skills and still maintain familial connections in Connecticut.

Waski contacted Boston Ballet in June, hoping to audition in August.

“They emailed me back asking if I could come the next day,” she said. “I drove the next day to Boston and auditioned.”

A day later, Waski received an email offering her a contract for the 2019-20 season, which started July 29.

“I knew right away and made my decision to join,” Waski said.

With the full support of her family and staff at ABT, she accepted the contract. Now, as a new member of a storied company, Waski is focused on enjoying the present and continuing to polish her skills.

“I don’t want to think about getting promoted, or doing this role or that role,” she said. “I honestly just want to dance, and dance my best.”