Delia Molineaux starts the next chapter of her ballet career “on pointe”

Sofia Ruliffson

The routine of a typical high school student is pretty straightforward: wake up, go to school, participate in a few extracurricular activities and end the night by finishing homework or cramming for tests. However, Delia Molineaux, a senior at Tamiscal High School (Tamiscal), has a slightly different routine. 

Every morning, Delia drives one hour to Walnut Creek to attend her first dance class at Diablo Ballet, an award-winning dance company, from 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. She then has another rehearsal from 1:35 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and ends her night with a 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. technique class and a final rehearsal. During breaks between dance classes, Delia completes a few homework assignments, reviews choreography and warms up for her next class. Her only academic class is once per week on Tuesdays from 8-9 a.m. This has been Delia’s routine for the past month as a dancer at the Diablo Ballet..

Smiling at the camera, Delia Molineaux waits backstage before her performance of “Sleeping Beauty.” (Photo courtesy of Jeanette Molineaux).

Delia was born in Long Island, New York, and moved to New York City when she was two years old. Delia’s dance journey began in New York City when she was three years old. When her dad’s job relocated her family to Marin County, she enrolled in Marin Ballet, where she found her love for dance. 

“I’ve always loved to dance since I was little, [but] never really took it seriously until I moved to Marin [and] started to realize that ballet is not just skipping around. [It involves] structure and technique to it as well, which made me fall in love with ballet,” Delia said. 

Once she began to focus more heavily on her dancing, Delia decided to transfer from Redwood to Tamiscal during her sophomore year in order to prioritize ballet. Delia chose Tamiscal because it provides students with the opportunity to spend more time engaging in their extracurricular activities, allowing them to create a more flexible school schedule. Delia currently has one class at school each week, which lets her dedicate more time to ballet. While she spends less time in a classroom, Delia still had to make compromises in order to pursue her career in dance.

“I have sacrificed a lot to dance. I’ve given up the regular high school experience [for ballet]. I don’t get to see friends as much and I miss out on a lot of social events because I’m always training in the studio or doing something else [ballet related],” Delia said. 

Showing off her flexibility, Delia Molineaux strikes a back attitude. (Photo courtesy of Lindsay Thomas)

While giving up parts of her social life for ballet was not easy, Delia hopes the sacrifice will help her to achieve her ultimate goal of becoming a professional ballerina. 

One of Delia’s biggest supporters, her mom Jeanette Molineaux, marvels at Delia’s ability to maintain a positive attitude when it comes to dance, despite its intense commitment. 

“I’ve never heard her complain about going to class and [she has] hardly ever missed a class. She’s missed social events and extracurricular activities but did it willingly [and was] very happy to do it,” Jeanette said. 

Delia’s biggest inspiration who helps keep her engaged in dance is her ballet teacher, Julia Adam. Adam has taught ballet for the past 20 years and has choreographed for prestigious dance companies such as Houston Ballet, Oregon Valley Theater Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and several more. Additionally, she has choreographed for smaller companies around Marin such as Marin Ballet, where she taught Delia for six years. Adam recalls several pleasant memories from her time with Delia at Marin Ballet, but notes that the highlights came from watching her perform.

“I started the [performance] with Delia, so she was the very first bird to come out and she did everything I asked for. As a [dancer], she takes the corrections and blossoms. [She] takes your ideas and can manifest them in her body,” said Adam. 

Reflecting on her time taking classes at Marin Ballet, Delia explained that Adam’s style of teaching significantly influenced her career in ballet. According to Delia, Adams incorporated various techniques in her choreography that made the class very entertaining. Delia mentions how Adam always brought light into the studio and made ballet fun, while also maintaining the sophisticated components of the art. 

“Miss Adam was one of my biggest influencers because she always brought light to the studio and showed me how you can have fun at ballet and still [be] serious,” Delia said. 

Despite gaining immense influence from her teachers at Marin Ballet, Delia’s true inspiration came from watching performances of well-known dance companies when she was little. 

“[Being able to] watch and go to performances when I was younger inspired [me because I] wanted to be the ballerina and I was always captivated by that idea. Those performances made me feel something inside that just wanted to do whatever I could to become that image,” Delia said. 

Elegantly performing onstage, Delia Molineaux plays the role of an angel in the Nutcracker. (Photo courtesy of Jeanette Molineaux)

As Delia’s senior year comes to a close, the next chapter of her dance career will begin at the Miami City Ballet school’s seven-week-long summer program, followed by an evaluation by the teachers to attend a 32-week choreography intensive class for the year. By attending the Miami City Ballet, Delia will be taking a different path than most of her peers who will be attending a university in the fall. Delia hopes that by the end of the summer, the Miami City Ballet will accept her into their year-long program. 

“There is a time limit for dancing [because] there’s a point where your body just reaches its limits and you just can’t move the same way you could when you were younger. So with something like dancing, you want to chase it right away. I can always go to college down the road in life, [and] dancing is the most important thing to me right now,” Delia said.

Delia is excited to hopefully take on this new adventure in Miami, advancing her career as a dancer in a new environment outside of Marin, something that is very appealing to her.

“I’m super excited to dance with other students who want to dance as much as I do, [and] there’ll be a lot of great energy [in the room],” Delia said. “They have some of the best teachers in the world and it’s always nice to get a change of scenery and learn new things since each Teacher brings something new to the table that you haven’t really thought of before.”  

Jeanette recognizes her daughter’s hard work and determination throughout this process, and is excited for Delia’s transition into a more professional career path in dance. 

“I’m excited for her to be able to give dance a hundred percent of her attention because she loves it so much. Balancing school and her social life is always a challenge, [so when I look at this opportunity] it’s not really about getting a role or this or that. She’ll finally be able to really immerse herself in [dance] and have an open mind about everything,” Jeanette said.