“I first met Mr. Ohman when I was about eight years old. At that age, ballet classes were something I did for fun – I never thought I would find such a passion for ballet and the dance world. I grew up with Mr. Ohman and the Nutcracker a considerable part of my childhood, and went on to dance many different roles in the years to come.
Dear Mr. Ohman,
This is my fifth year with you and because of you I have achieved so much. When I take class, I feel fortunate to have you as my teacher. I love ballet because of you.
Happy 25th Anniversary.
June 2, 1999
Congratulations on New York Dance Theatre’s 25th anniversary! It’s hard work to run a company and a school and it’s wonderful to know that there are professionals like you out there sharing your knowledge and experience with the dancers of today. They are fortunate to have you.
I first met you when I was an apprentice for New York City Ballet and you were still dancing. One of the first ballets I danced in for the Company was Vienna Waltzes and I remember how privileged I felt to be on the stage with your and your “last waltz” partner Judy Fugate.
A few years later, you invited me to dance the Sugar Plum Fairy for New York Dance Theatre’s Nutcracker. It was one of the first performances I did outside the company and it was a wonderful experience to work with you and the cast. I returned the following year with Lindsay Fischer as my cavalier. Then a few years after that, I danced a variation from Who Cares? for your summer gala. Over the years it was a real pleasure to see your school and company grow in size, talent, and professionalism.
The best of luck to you and New York Dance Theatre for another 25 years!
Dear Mr. Ohman,
“Hi Mr. Ohman! I hope you are doing well and enjoying your summer so far. I just wanted to reach out because I had written an essay about you in the fall as an essay to send to colleges as part of the college admissions process. Anyway, I recently came across the essay and wanted to share it with you. The task was to write about someone who I greatly admire and who has been very influential in my life. Here it is:'”If I could sum up Mr. Frank Ohman in one word it would be ‘passionate.’ His zest for living is unparalleled and his love of ballet manifests itself in every aspect of his being. In this way, I try to emulate the thoughtful man with a knack for remembering the birthday of every individual he encounters.I wish you could meet Mr. Ohman and his trusty sidekick, Oscar (a tired wooden shaft that Mr. O bangs on the ground to keep time). Mr. O was a soloist for twenty-two years at New York City Ballet under George Balanchine. He is a gentle man who paints pastoral pictures in his free time. And you should see his face beam with pride any time he speaks of his son. After Mr. O’s dance career, he opened up his own ballet school because he felt as if it was his duty to share the knowledge he had gained. Throughout the years, Mr. O has become my most trusted mentor and one of my closest friends.My favorite part of his classes is when he takes me aside and tells me stories of his time at New York City Ballet. Mr. Ohman was a critical member of arguably the most important era of American ballet. In these coveted moments he reminds me of the simple life lessons that are sometimes forgotten. Once Mr. O asked me “Why would you ever stop doing something you love?” This seems like a question with an obvious answer – you wouldn’t. However, I believe this is an answer that is too often lost in today’s hectic society. These conversations provide me further insight to the true value and meaning of dancing, learning and living. What adds merit to Mr. O’s sage advice, is the fact that he strictly lives by the same principles of which he speaks.By opening up his own ballet school, he has undoubtedly proven that his purpose is to serve others. He gave up countless opportunities in order to pursue his ballet career and has experienced firsthand the power of dance. His lifelong pursuit has been to share this love with others in the hope that it will grant them a similar sense of purpose.Mr. Ohman is the most fulfilled person I know. This fulfillment is a result of his confidence in knowing that he has danced through the hearts and souls of countless students and colleagues alike.
I leave each of Mr. Ohman’s classes slightly altered. Sometimes I am more curious about the world, while other times I am more enlightened. However, Mr. O has a masterful way of teaching his students lessons of discipline, determination, and wonderment through the art of ballet. For this I am so grateful to my dear friend, Mr. O. “‘ Hope to see you very soon Mr. Ohman.”
Period 5 odd
Northport High School
“I have been attending The Ohman School of Ballet since I was only 3 years old. As the years progressed, my time spent at the studio increased. I never fully understood the beauty of ballet until Mr. Ohman taught us a real appreciation of it. Mr. Ohman say dancing is like telling a story through movement. He’s taught us that you can just show an emotion through a slight transfer of the body. Once a dancer is able to capture the audience in an emotion she or he is dancing, the story comes alive. I never truly saw it until I saw my first ballet, which was Sleeping Beauty. This lesson that Mr. Ohman taught me just helped see that a dancer showing a feeling through dance is the same as a writer portraying a story through imagery.
Ballet is all about discipline and perfection. But what people don’t know is that it is also a team effort. For twelve years, I have been performing in Mr. Ohman’s production of The Nutcracker. For uniformity, we would have rehearsals every weekend with our different casts. Mr. Ohman taught us all that we each need to work to make our parts come alive, but still perform together as a company. Ballet is like playing in a band. The band wouldn’t sound right if someone was off key. In dance, if someone doesn’t practice or they don’t know what they’re doing, they could potentially mess up. The part wouldn’t have any uniformity and it wouldn’t look like it was done correctly. Each person counts in a ballet, so being together on the right counts is very important.
Attending the strenuous rehearsals every weekend, on top of showing up at classes during the week taught me about commitment. The school held a very strict policy. If you missed over a certain amount of classes, you wouldn’t be allowed to perform. The Nutcracker was an annual treat for me so not being able to participate would be devastating. Showing my commitment was tough. Handling school, dance, and time for myself was a challenge for me since it put such a time constraint on my daily schedule. But attending the classes showed that I would be able to handle higher level classes and to take more of them. I did eventually move up to the harder levels and I was rewarded with bigger roles for The Nutcracker. I even got one of my favorite roles in this year’s production, which I have been striving for since I was six years old.
Even though Mr. Ohman preached about discipline and team work, spending time in his classes also taught me about myself. The studio became an outlet for me, especially during some of my personal hardships that I have faced. Being at the studio during my parents’ divorce in 2000, helped me focus on everything but what was going on at home. I learned over time that ballet was also very relieving. I saw the dance studio as a second home, where I could focus on myself and my dancing without having to worry about any of the other stress in my life, such as school, parents, or friends. In 2003, I fell into a depression. I stopped taking classes for a while so I could get myself back together.
After several months I realized how much I missed being in the dance atmosphere. My return to the studio, once again, completely opened my eyes. It was then that I realized the studio was my little personal outreach. I had my second large appreciation for being there. Ballet helped me bring back my confidence, and I felt so much better about myself inside and out. To this day, whenever I feel frustrated, down, or unaccomplished, I dance. I don’t have to turn to anything such as drugs or alcohol to help me feel better. Being able to channel my energy into dancing instead of something negative just empowers me.
Each of these lessons has made me into the confident individual I am today. My benefit from these lessons that I have learned from Mr. Ohman, have and will stick with me for the rest of my life as I conquer the rest of my endeavors.”
Dear Mr. Ohman,
I have many happy memories of the times that I have spent with you. The one event that was very memorable to me, was when I was at one of the Nutcracker rehearsals. It was on a Saturday , during the 1997 Nutcracker Season. We were all in the gym rehearsing the battle scene, when suddenly Daniel, the Prince, “WHACKED” me in the head with the sword. I went flying across the room and one of the “mice” fan for ice. I was not seriously hurt but I did have a little bump on my head. You were so worried about me that you called me three times that weekend just to see if I was all right. It was very nice of you to call me and care so much. I would like to wish you happy 25th Anniversary, and I look forward to many more years of dancing with you.