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May 15, 2012

Ayisha McMillan Cravotta

Ayisha McMillan Cravotta spent most of her life traveling the globe soaring across stages. She was an elite ballerina and hoped to pirouette forever. However, in 2005, McMillan Cravotta fell and severely injured her hip. Surgery fixed her body, but not her spirit. Suddenly, dancing lost its appeal. “I felt like there was more for me to do. I didn’t know what it was. But knew I had to find out.”

In 2011, at age 33, the Illinois native became the first African-American principal of the North Carolina Dance Theatre School of Dance where she manages teachers, plans curricula, works with staff , and counsels students. She also teaches in the studio occasionally. “My career has been very special. It’s a unique gift.”

Head over to UPTOWN to read about her global travels and the black ballerinas who inspire her. But first, she checks in with US about road companions, Mexico City and chocolate martinis.

REFLECTIONS: First job: Ballet dancer .* Advice she'd have given herself 10 years ago: Try to relax! * Keeps her up at night: To-do Lists. * Words to live by: My grandmother often said, “Divine Love always has, always does, and always will meet every human need.”

DIVERSIONS: Currently reading: Bossypants by Tina Fey. This book is a perfect companion on the road, when I can really use a deep laugh. * Planning to read next: From Values to Action: Four Principles of Values-Based Leadership by Harry Kraemer. * Last fun purchase: Dark denim jeans, tailored to fit me just right, from Nordstrom.

PLAYING FAVORITES: Hotel: Hotel Nikko in the Polanco neighborhood of Mexico City. They place chocolate truffles on your pillow at night, and there is everything delicious you could wish for in the hotel restaurant's breakfast buffet. * City for shopping: Anywhere there's a Big Lots. And Paris. * Getaway: New York City. * Drink: Hot Chocolate Martini from Good Food on Montford.  * Guilty Pleasure: French Fries.

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