My name is Mimi Tompkins and I am 19 years old and currently in my second year as trainee with the San Francisco Ballet School. Unlike most girls, my mom was a professional ballet dancer, so dance has been a huge part of my life form the very start.
I grew up in McLean, Virginia where my mom first entered me in ballet classes when I was around three years old. She simply wanted to introduce me to the art that taught her discipline and how to truly work for what you want. There was no expectation that I would make it my career. Once I realized I had talent and that improving my technique gave me satisfaction, I was hooked. I never missed a day of classes, always eager to learn something new and push myself to the next challenge.
When I was twelve, my family moved to Naples Florida. Because we couldn’t find a new ballet school, my mom opened her own school; the Naples Academy of Ballet. I studied there for the next two years until I was accepted to the Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton. After a year at Harid, where the teachers refined the solid technique I had learned training with the Vaganova method, I made another big move to the San Francisco Ballet School. I studied there for four years before becoming a trainee.
My path so far has been atypical of most teenagers my age, but ballet has taught me so much so far. Each experience has brought a new color to my art and I have learned so much from every teacher, place I have traveled, and other dancer I have met. The ballet world has always got something new to offer.
Photograpy by Oliver Endhal – Mimi Tompkins with Elizabeth Lloyd