Cecilia Iliesiu

Recently, I had a discussion with my parents about where we each felt most at home. My mother, a British-American, and my father, a native Romanian-Hungarian, both agree that New York City, being the melting pot of the United States, was their home. Each have unique backgrounds coming from different parts of the world, but the U.S. and NYC is where they met, had a family and created their home.

I, a native New Yorker, am proud to be an American. Our country’s past is rich with history and defines the nature of our culture. The American people are a melting pot of cultures and each have unique stories to tell. I am fortunate to have family scattered around the world, in America, Europe and Indonesia. Needless to say, I have traveled and I love exploring the world, but I never feel more at home than I do in the States. I am a melting pot of cultures and I feel the most accepted in America.

The most patriotic I have felt on stage was during my SAB Workshop Performance dancing George Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes. I was the Leader of the Second Campaign (aka. the “Tall” Regiment) wearing a tutu bearing the stripes of our country’s flag, a captain’s chapeau, white socks and white Pointe shoes. In the The Stars and Stripes Forever finale, the music has a marvelous militaristic rhythm and the three campaigns are together onstage; all the dancers are in perfect formations and kicking our legs in unison. For a short moment, I imagine I am amongst the U.S. Military saluting to their service and the incredible sacrifices that have made me proud to be an American – our freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.