It takes a lot of strength, confidence, and determination to truly walk the path one chooses. Some people might deter a person from it, discouraging them by saying they won’t be able to make it or achieve anything worthwhile. Brittany O’Connor is one such individual who had to face many people deterring her from doing what she was passionate about – dancing. Yet she powered through and emerged as a professional ballet dancer who fought for her dreams and believed in herself.
She may be a well-known ballet dancer and mentor now, but Brittany did not always have all that. Her parents got divorced very early on in her life, and all she wanted was for them to get along. She did, however, come to terms with her parents’ separation and was able to see them move on with their lives and make something of themselves. Her mother worked at Wall Street, while her father served in the military before being discharged after a serious spinal injury. Brittany considers her father to be her biggest inspiration. He didn’t allow himself to fall behind in life just because he was handicapped, and he instilled all those life lessons in Brittany, which ultimately helped her reach her full potential.
From a young age, Brittany had a passion for the arts, specifically the art of dancing. She took jazz and tap classes at a young age before being advised to transition into ballet. When it comes to ballet, most enthusiastic aspirants tend to start at the tender age of 6 or younger. Brittany, however, was a teenager when she joined, and had to work twice as hard to reach the same level as the youngest dancer in her class. Her teachers were skeptical at first, but once they saw her determination and will to do better, they began to help her as much as they could. She would stay late and practice, and soon she began to show signs of having been dancing ballet all her life.
With her strong will and confident nature, no one would have guessed the pain she was suffering within. Brittany suffered from weak kidneys, cysts in her ovaries, and fractures in her bones. Doctors diagnosed her with Hypochondria, an ailment where a person believes there is something physically wrong with them yet no source of the ailment is determined. Yet, that never sat well with Brittany. She did not believe that it was all in her head, and it wasn’t until she was a grown adult that she was able to identify her symptoms. A doctor in Paris informed her that she had stage 4 Hashimotos. A condition where the thyroid gland stops producing certain hormones, which have to be then regulated through medication.
Despite all the setbacks, Brittany managed to rise against all odds and stay true to herself. After four years of studying ballet, she received a contract from one of the largest ballet companies in Europe, SemperOper Ballet. Since then, she has performed on many stages throughout the world at various concerts and performances as a guest artist. One of her most notable collaborations is with the celebrated singer Andrea Bocelli. She has been the lead principal dancer for Andrea Bocelli’s World Tour, for the last six years. By combining technique and artistry, Brittany is able to bring life to the words of the beloved Tenor.
Brittany has also started to mentor future ballet dancers, where she instills confidence in them and encourages them to stay true to themselves and their art. She is also an ambassador for two organizations, one of which is Voices4Freedom – a non-profit that fights against slavery in India by building schools throughout enslaved villages and guiding indentured slaves and children to a life of freedom and independence. Her other organization is the Andrea Bocelli Foundation, which builds schools worldwide in countries marred with disastrous events with the mission of empowering people and communities.
Brittany is a strong and confident individual. She has had to deal with family troubles, health issues, and even suffered from depression and anxiety at various points in her life. However, she has not allowed these factors in her life to define her; instead, she has learned to live with them and treats herself with kindness. She believes that if you show yourself compassion, only then can you find it in yourself to show that empathy and level of sensitivity to others around you.
If you want to learn more about Brittany’s professional journey, visit her profile on Instagram.