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The Tale Of A Profound American Ballet Whose Illness Couldn’t Explain By The Doctors

American Ballet dancer Kathryn Morgan was one of the finest in her profession, but her destiny has decided something else for her. The dancer who was once a soloist at New York City Ballet lost midway when she was moving towards her auspicious future.

Doctors Didn’t Ascertain It Correctly

She saw her hair fall out, her weight rise, and her balance disappear. She went to the doctor after doctor who dismissed her, and some even termed her problem as probable hypochondria. To CNN, she elaborated that “The problem was that because of how small I was to begin with, even after I gained weight, all these doctors were looking at me going, ‘You look fine. Are you making this up?’”

The Image of Bedroom Pas de Deux in Act 2 of Romeo and Juliet, Image Credit: Kathryn Morgan Online
The Image of Bedroom Pas de Deux in Act 2 of Romeo and Juliet, Image Credit: Kathryn Morgan Online

Finally, She Found A Cure

Finally, Morgan’s problem perfectly analyzed by her eighth doctor.  She was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition: Hashimoto’s disease, also known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. The disease causes a reduction in thyroid hormone production, which happens when antibodies attack the thyroid gland. The American Thyroid Association states that thyroid hormones are important to our body to “use energy, stay warm and keep the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs working as they should.”

Morgan On POINTE' Magazine Cover, Image Credit: Balancing Pointe
Morgan On POINTE’ Magazine Cover, Image Credit: Balancing Pointe

How Slowly The Disease Left Her Without Ballet

One of endocrinologist told CNN that the women aged between 40 to 60 are more prone to this disease. But Morgan’s case where she found Hashimoto’s symptoms in her body at 21 was not unusual. Morgan recollects the memory while saying, “I remember being extra tired and not fully myself. But I thought it was just because I was doing ‘Sleeping Beauty,'” she said. “And then the spring season started, and I could barely get through a day of rehearsal, let alone performances, I was so exhausted.”

Paul Kolnik's photo of Kathryn Morgan and Tyler Angle as Aurora and the Prince. Image Source :Oberon's Grove - TypePad
Paul Kolnik’s photo of Kathryn Morgan and Tyler Angle as Aurora and the Prince. Image Source: Oberon’s Grove – TypePad

Once while working for NYCB, she was playing Juliet the second time. For the role, she has to braid her hair for a perfect look. She remembers the moment when her stylist alarmed her about the hair loss. “Three months ago you had twice as much hair,” he told her. “Your hair is gone. I have nothing to braid,” she stated what the stylist told her. In the coming days, she gained weight, though she was working 60 hours a week.

Initial Stage Of Her Career

Morgan who found herself getting attracted to ballet at 18 months only joined NYCB’s feeder school, the School of American Ballet when she was only 15. However, it was not a cakewalk, but her potential brought her a chance to become an apprentice at NYCB at 17. “I was working six days a week, 10 hours a day, and trying to be a senior in high school,” Morgan said. After just two weeks she was a principal dancer as Juliet. You would not imagine by 20, and she was playing a much difficult role of Aurora in “Sleeping Beauty.”

Kathryn Morgan, 18. Image Credit: Paul Kolnik/New York City Ballet
Kathryn Morgan, 18. Image Credit: Paul Kolnik/New York City Ballet

Hurray! She Is Coming Back

Morgan is 29 years old now. She spent around nine years without ballet about which she was and is passionate. Her determination and acclaimed dancing gave her a second chance at Miami City Ballet. Interestingly, Lourdes Lopez, artistic director of MCB, offered her the same position she used to have in NYCB. Lopez truly said that Morgan had a “God-given presence.” Later she added, “I don’t want to say she got her talent back because I don’t think she ever lost it.”

Kathryn Morgan dancing with partner Sean Rollofson before joining Miami City Ballet. Image Credit: CNN
Kathryn Morgan is dancing with partner Sean Rollofson before joining Miami City Ballet. Image Credit: CNN

With MCB she will get a comeback in October.