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A Ballerina’s “Pointe” of View


Posted on January 31, 2014 by Taylor Rhea


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For Dorothy Priest, it was love at first plié.

Once known by her stage name, Dorothy Loder, Dorothy began ballet lessons when she was just six years old and was a ballerina from the ages of 18 to 25. She worked with many renowned actresses and dancers, including Gwen Verdon, Sheree North and Miliza Korjus.

She began studying at the Albertina Rasch Studio in New York at age 14, taking classes three times a week and every day during vacation periods.

Ballet Group

The famous Mitzi Gaynor is in the top center, and Dorothy is directly below her or second from the right.

But, being a ballerina was certainly no bed of roses.

“When I was in a show, we had classes every day,” she says. “I was in Song of Norway as part of a ballet sequence. We went on tour through the United States and in many cities we’d take classes from someone who was in the ballet company.”

Dorothy is on the far right.

Despite its demands, Dorothy reports that dancing has had a very positive influence on her perspective.

“Dance has made me, throughout my life to be very strong and disciplined,” she says. “I don’t do as much dancing as I used to, but every time some music comes on, I sway to it and keep time with my whole body, or I sit and dream of how I would have danced it in the younger days.”

After her years as a ballerina, Dorothy went on to be a dresser for many celebrated shows and an agent for up-and-coming dancers. Dance has brought Dorothy many wonderful and memorable experiences. She still enjoys going to the ballet and watching dancers perform.

“I look for their lines, turned out feet and pointed toes,”reports Dorothy, with a deep appreciation for the art of dance. For those pursuing dance, Dorothy recommends seeking out a reputable professional school.

Recent photo of Dorothy at Atria Rancho Park.

Recent photo of Dorothy at Atria Rancho Park.

As a resident of Atria Rancho Park in California, Dorothy strives to age gracefully. When it comes to healthy aging she suggests one should “…keep on doing exercises, walking tall, don’t gain weight and wear comfortable shoes.”

Dorothy lives her life by three simple axioms: “Keep young, stay healthy and treat everyone with kindness.”


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