San Rafael, CA (PressExposure) November 18, 2011 -- Zippora Karz a former soloist ballerina with the New York City Ballet is interviewed by Grier Cooper, a former dancer with Miami City Ballet on her blog: [http://www.griercooper.com/2011/11/16/interview-with-zippora-karz-author-and-ex-soloist-with-new-york-city-ballet/]
Karz danced with NYCB from 1983 through 1999 and was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes in 1987, just as she was being featured in solo roles. She found a way to overcome diabetes and live her dream despite her illness. Her memoir of these experiences, The Sugarless Plum, was published in 2009.
The tools that helped her the most were education and acceptance. "When I was diagnosed I set out to learn everything I could about how to take care of my body. But equally important was learning to accept the things I could not control, as my life took an unexpected turn and I felt my dreams slipping away. It was a very long process, one I am still on, desiring to fulfill my personal potential" says Karz.
Still, dancing with diabetes was extremely challenging for her. "My struggle was for many years. In part denial fueled my strength, and in part my passion for dance kept me going. In the beginning years I had absolutely no idea what I had ahead of me. Once I accepted my diabetes and realized how difficult it was to try to perform and dance all day on shots of insulin, even though I often wanted to quit, I just couldn't. I had to try everything I could before saying I couldn't do it. I didn't want to regret chances not taken. To dance was to live," says Karz.
Dance is still a large part of her life. Today Karz serves as a teacher and repetiteur for the George Balanchine Trust, rehearsing and staging Balanchine's choreography for a host of national and international dance companies. She is also a diabetes spokesperson and educator who regularly addresses major diabetes conferences and organizations worldwide.