After more than sixty years, the Irine Fokine School of Ballet of Ridgewood, New Jersey is closing. Founded by Fokine, the Russian-born daughter of Maryinsky Theater prima ballerina Alexandra Fedorova and the niece of choreographer Michel Fokine, the school was a mainstay of Ridgewood. It also happens to be the school where I studied ballet intensively for many years, starting when I was seven. I took my first point class and first partnering class there, and performed in my first of countless Nutcracker productions. The environment at the school was strict, sometimes frighteningly so, and Ms. Fokine herself was a rigorous taskmaster. But the myriad performance opportunities allowed me to share my love of ballet, and the training was my introduction to ballet technique. I am eternally grateful for having studied with Ms. Fokine, and very saddened to learn of the school’s closing. I always imagined it would go on forever. The closing truly marks the end of an era. Read more about the school here.