Laura Gilbreath Tisserand & Jerome Tisserand, Company dancers

Jerome: I never excelled in English.  But that changed after spending five weeks at the Miami City Ballet summer program.  Tisserand-1Luckily, ballet is a universal language, but I still found myself a bit lost outside of the studio.
While I did have moments of uncertainty and homesickness, I developed lasting friendships that I still have today.  This proved to be the case after I moved to Seattle as well.  I found myself interested in and connecting with people over American football, chicken wings, and beer.  Pretty much the opposite of my French heritage.  America is also the place I met the love of my life, and while I miss my family in France, we have made a wonderful home here. To this day, people always say I’m the most American French guy they know, and I’m proud to represent both cultures so completely.


Tisserand-2Laura:
Having never been outside the US before Jerome and I started dating, I rarely took the time to think about what it means to be an American.  It was simply my identity—I didn’t have anything else to compare it to, and to be honest, I never cared to ponder it.  When I was young, family vacations were spent at Disney World, where we toured France and experienced the windmills of Holland by way of the “It’s a Small World” ride.  As I got older and started attending The School of American Ballet summer program in New York, I had the opportunity to meet kids from all over the world.  Here I got my first taste of cultural diversity, but it wasn’t until I began traveling abroad that my eyes were opened to the beautiful and unique differences—as well as similarities– that make this world go round.  I never take for granted that I get to visit Europe on a yearly basis with Jerome, but in the end, I will always be a proud American. Living in New York during 9-11 drove home this sense of pride as I watched people coming together to help their fellow man, and made me see that it is indeed a small world after all.