As Cleopatra quickly approaches, Ballerina Regina Willoughby’s professional dance career with Columbia City Ballet is coming to a close. With her retirement, Regina is celebrating over 20 years of dance in Columbia. Her final performances with the company will be March 24, followed by a gala that evening commemorating Regina’s years with Columbia City Ballet and her contribution to the Columbia arts scene. We interviewed Regina and here’s what she had to say:
Q: What are your feelings about retirement and leaving Columbia City Ballet?
Regina: Retirement will be bittersweet. My professional career, which has been primarily with CCB (21 years), is a huge part of who I am. My passion for ballet is something that will forever be a part of me but I have a definite peace about the time of retirement. A repose for my mind, body and schedule will be welcomed but I will miss many aspects as well.
Q: Why did you choose Cleopatra to be your retirement performance?
R: Cleopatra was a ballet created on me which is an honor for a ballet dancer.
Q: What is your favorite part of dancing the role of Cleopatra?
R: The score and pas de deux are incredibly moving which makes it rewarding for me.
Q: What is your favorite role that you’ve danced with Columbia City Ballet?
R: Juliet would probably top my list. The curtain went up and it was the end of the ballet before I realized. Prokofiev’s score tells the story in such an incredible way and to have that flow through my body was like nothing else.
Q: If you could leave one message for the rest of the ballet company what would it be?
R: Enjoy each stage of your career and don’t wait until tomorrow to push yourself harder or step out of your comfort zone. Tomorrow never comes.