“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

“Why can’t I go on stage too?”

At five years old, watching from the audience at my sister’s first ballet recital, I was so excited by the music and dancing I could barely stay in my seat.

“Well, you can go on stage if you want,” my dad replied, “but you have to wait until the performance is over.”

I had never had a dance lesson, but the moment the show ended I ran up on stage and began jumping and turning in celebration of my newly discovered passion. My parents signed me up for lessons.

I became the ‘ballet boy’ at school. Some said ballet was for girls. Others said I wasn’t a real athlete. My parents said not to worry about those kids.

Thirteen years later I took the stage as a professional. I lived my dream. I even met the love of my life. My parents were always in the audience.

Today, the passion I cultivated on that stage echoes in everything I do. By recognizing and nurturing that passion my parents gave me one of the greatest gifts I have ever received.

My oldest son just turned five. I can’t wait to see what stages he and his brother decide to take.

— Mark Giragosian