“When I entered the Rising Star competition in 2013, I never expected to win,” says Maggie Kudirka, known these days as the Bald Ballerina. It’s a moniker she gave herself after treatments for stage 4 breast cancer left her without hair.
“Only one dancer had ever won before, and I didn’t feel I was in Alicia Graf [Mack]’s league,” she says. “She was my ballet idol. I watched her dance the part of Sugar Plum Fairy in ‘The Nutcracker,’ and it has inspired my own performances.”
In the Rising Star judges’ eyes, at least, she lived up to the standard Mack set.
“When my name was called as the Rising Star winner, I was so surprised that my knees buckled and I burst into tears,” she says.
With the $5,000 prize, Kudirka moved to New York and took a position with the Joffrey Concert Group. Her cancer diagnosis brought her back to Maryland, where she danced the coveted Sugar Plum Fairy role in a Reflections in Dance production of “The Nutcracker” in Westminster on Dec. 17, while rushing back and forth to Baltimore for her cancer treatments.
The tall ballerina looks forward to future dance performances, especially her fundraiser concerts, “No One Can Survive Alone,” the first of which was held in January. Four more are planned for this year, with proceeds helping to defray the costs of her medical bills.