12-year-old breaks barriers in the ballet world
By Asia Harris
The Cincinnati Herald
“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’” Salomé Isabel Tregre, age 12, included the Muhammad Ali quote in a poster she made for art class a few weeks ago. “It touched me deeply to see it,” says her father, Attorney Calvin Tregre. He says that Salomé got the quote from a poster that her older brother, Caleb, hung in their mom’s hospital room this past summer. “Salomé has apparently taken that quote and is applying it in her own life.”
Salomé will dance the lead role of “Clara” in this year’s production of “The Nutcracker” by the Cincinnati Ballet. She is the first African American cast by the Cincinnati Ballet in that coveted role. Groups such as The Cincinnati Chapter of The Links, Inc. already are spreading the word to encourage the community to come out in support of the young star. When asked how she feels about making history, Salomé says, “It feels like it’s time.”
This was Salomé’s third year auditioning for the role of Clara. The first time, she did not get the part, and last year, she was the understudy for Clara, but did not have the chance to perform. She almost did not audition for the lead role this summer. She was in the middle of a family crisis at the time. While watching Salome perform at the Cincinnati Ballet in July, her mom, Ebony Tregre, suddenly could not move. The paramedics were called and Ebony was rushed to the hospital. It was discovered that the attorney in Compliance and Regulatory at GE Aviation, who is only in her early 40s, had a stroke and her left side was paralyzed.
When Salomé announced that she would not audition for the role so that she could spend more time with her mom, Ebony would not hear of it. She insisted that Salome not let any obstacles stand in the way of pursuing her dreams. “Salome has always looked at Ebony as her role model,” Calvin says. The good news is that Ebony has been released from the hospital and is recovering at home. While Ebony continues to push through hours of therapy every day, Salome is taking classes at the Cincinnati Ballet six days per week, in addition to rehearsing for Nutcracker, and Ebony is thrilled.
Ebony has been a huge supporter of the Cincinnati Ballet for years. She used to attend the ballet with Salome when her daughter was a little girl. Ebony noticed that there weren’t many African American families in the audience, so she started the tradition of coordinating pre-performance dinners. She invited other African American families to gather and enjoy time together before experiencing something “whimsical, fun and even magical.”
Salomé began studying at the Cincinnati Ballet at the age of two. When her soccer schedule competed with ballet, Salome chose ballet, and has continued to work hard at her craft. This past summer, she attended a six-week, 8 hours a day program at the Cincinnati Ballet Academy. Salome says her lifelong friends have gotten used to her always being busy and they are excited about seeing her on stage. School is going well, too, she adds. The North Avondale resident who is a 7th grader at Walnut Hills High School, formerly attended The Cincinnati Country Day School. She says she changed schools for 7th grade this year because “I wanted to try something new.”
Salome’s parents, big brother Caleb who is a student at the University of Cincinnati, and four-year-old sister, Sadie can’t wait to see Salomé perform the lead role in “The Nutcracker.” Calvin says, “Now Sadie, who also is taking ballet classes at the [Cincinnati Ballet] Academy, looks up to Salome as a role model.” Both Salomé and Ebony exemplify what it means to be a champion.
Frisch’s Big Boy presents The Nutcracker at Music Hall, Dec. 14 – 24, 2017.