From the age of four, Margaret Rose Kenrick knew she wanted to be a ballerina, and that’s exactly what she became. By the time she was eight, she was on point, dancing professionally at the Riverside Ballet Theatre in her hometown. She left high school as a junior to attend the University of Washington and dance for the Pacific Northwest Ballet Company, where she dazzled audiences from the Kennedy Center Stage. She was soon recruited for the prestigious Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.
Eventually, some 20 years ago, her passion for dance brought her to the Benicia Ballet Theatre to perform as the Sugar Plum Fairy, but this was long after her life had taken a traumatic turn. At the height of her dance career, at age 21, she was in a devastating car crash, which left her without any feeling in her legs. Although she learned to walk again, it was years before she could dance.
With support from friends and family, she kept her chin up and shifted her focus towards her studies. As a dancer, she loved the human body, so she earned her BA from UCLA, and an MA from UC Riverside in biological sciences. Her father, a professor, drove her to midterms and her mother, a nutritionist, made sure her body and mind stayed strong and healthy.
Just as determined now as she was at 4, Margaret won’t let anything get in the way of her dreams. Not even a diagnosis of Lupus Disease nearly 13 years ago has held her back. Today, in addition to her current role as the director of the Benicia Ballet School and the non-profit Benicia Ballet Theatre, she works full time as a pre-nursing professor at Los Medanos College. After years of research in the biotech industry, she now consults for Genentech doing research on age-related macular degeneration. And in the afternoons, she is pursuing her Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership at Brandman University.
She lives with her husband in Concord, and her daughter Samantha (21), son Anthony (13), and hundreds of dance students keep her motivated each day. The hardships along her path, she says, have taught her to fill every day with something important. That, she does.