Boyette twins find constant support in each other

Brian Smith | Staff Photographer
School of Dance Workshop II dancers Megan and Lorraina Boyette, both 14, warm up before their morning class in Carnahan-Jackson Dance Studio.

When people ask Megan and Lorraina Boyette what it’s like to be a twin, they usually respond, “Well, I don’t know what it’s like to not be a twin.”

Although the sisters try hard to distinguish themselves as individuals, the girls can’t deny their similarities — including a mutual love for dance.

The 14-year-old sisters have been dancing for almost 12 years at the North Carolina Dance Theatre School of Dance under the instruction of president and artistic director Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, who is also Chautauqua Dance’s artistic director. The twins decided to spend this summer in Chautauqua’s School of Dance program, attending the five-week Workshop II with fellow dancers ages 12 to 14.

“They seem to get along so well, and they seem to love — at least in dance — the same thing,” Bonnefoux said, “which is pretty unusual.”

But Megan doesn’t find it so surprising.

“Everyone says that,” she said. “But to me, I don’t think it’s that strange, because we literally have the same taste in everything. To me, it makes sense that we both like to dance.”

While the twin sisters have experienced the same dance training, they are completely different dancers, Megan said.

“One of the hardest parts — not just being in dance… but just being a twin — people always compare you,” she said. “They expect you to be completely the same or total opposites.”

Megan believes there’s no point in being envious of her own sister, because in dance, there’s already enough competition.

“You’re competing against everyone else, so you need to have that one person that you can just be buddies with and just support,” Megan said.

“Not all twins, or even sisters, are close like [we are], and I think dance has actually really helped us be closer,” Lorraina said, echoing her sister. “And we’re each other’s best friend.”

Megan agreed.

“Especially with dance, sometimes you feel very alone because everyone’s trying to get that part and everyone wants to be the best,” Megan said. “To have that one person who wants the same thing as you, but won’t kill you for it, is really nice.”

The girls realize it’s unfair and unrealistic to compare themselves to one another. Instead, they focus on their individual strengths.

“Obviously, [Megan] is better at jumping than I am,” Lorraina said, “and I’m better at turning than she is.”

Megan decided a long time ago that she wants to become a professional ballerina.

For Lorraina, it wasn’t as simple. It wasn’t until last year that Lorraina decided to make her hobby into a career, she said. In fact, her inspiration came after watching the NCDT world premiere of “The Groove” in Charlotte, N.C. (NCDT performed the Dwight Rhoden ballet most recently on July 31 in the Amphitheater.)

The Boyette sisters love both classical and also contemporary ballet, and they are looking into a number of different summer programs for next year, including one at Miami City Ballet.

Both girls are drawn to the company, perhaps because of its history of attracting siblings — most recently, twin sisters Leigh-Ann and Sara Esty, who have become well known in dance circles.

MCB is also the company in which two of their biggest role models dance as principals: the Delgado sisters. Although Patricia and Jeanette Delgado are two years apart, the Boyette twins really identify with them.

According to an April 23, 2013, article in The New York Times, Jeanette, like Lorraina, also struggled to decide if she wanted to dance professionally. As Jeanette watched her sister dance, she just wasn’t sure if she could measure up to Patricia’s level of ability.

Coincidentally, Jeanette reached a turning point at age 17, when she was accepted into Chautauqua Dance’s summer program. It was there that she gained new confidence and a deeper love for ballet, according to the Times article.

Lorraina said she identifies with Patricia, the taller and more lyrical of the sisters, while Megan connects with Jeanette, who has a smaller stature and is better at jumping.

It’s safe to assume that the Boyette twins are wise beyond their years, taking notes from the Delgado sisters as they make their way into the insane and exciting world of dance.

No matter what challenges come their way, Megan and Lorraina Boyette seem to have a pretty good strategy in place to keep their sisterhood and friendship strong.

“I think the best thing is to support [Lorraina] in whatever she does,” Megan said, “and wherever she wants to go, and whatever she wants to do.”