Launching a comeback naturally raises questions and eyebrows within your industry where you once soared.

Can she do it again? Does she still have it? article, photo found article, photo found

The professional sports world is littered with those who tried to make comebacks and failed along with the few that made comebacks and soared.

One of the few success stories is that of Magic Johnson. The entertaining site shares, “As great as Magic was, there still remains an aura of “what if” to his story. Ervin Johnson, the orchestrator of the “Showtime” Los Angeles Lakers retired in 1991 after announcing he had contracted HIV. He returned for the 1992 All-Star Game and won a gold medal on the Dream Team in the 1992 Olympics.  He returned to play for the Lakers in 1996, playing just 32 games and averaging nearly 15 points and 7 assists. He retired as the NBA’s all-time leader in assists per game at 11.2.”

So as you might guess, when elite ballerina Stella Abrera had to make a comeback after suffering a devastating, potentially career ending sciatic-nerve injury, in terms of making a comeback, certain industry eyebrows were raised. article, Exceptional photo by Gene Schiavone article, Exceptional photo by Gene Schiavone

Can she become elite again?

Even she wasn’t sure that she would dance again.

In her August 17, 2015 interview with she explains, “All the things that have happened pointed to me not being chosen [as a principal dancer]. And if that happened, no one would have batted an eye. I wouldn’t have. It’s crazy at 37, this doesn’t happen in our world. Thank God, it did. It’s a wonderful thing.”

It took 18 months for her to get back on the stage. Even just walking around was a chore.

August of 2015 begins the start of her tenure as a principal dancer at New York’s American Ballet Theatre, making her the first Filipino American to reach the highest rank in the elite ballet company.

Now that is what you would call a stellar comeback.

The American Ballet Theatre shares her humble beginnings and illustrious climb to the stars. “Stella Abrera of South Pasadena, California, began her studies with Philip and Charles Fuller and Cynthia Young at Le Studio in Pasadena. She continued her studies with Lorna Diamond and Patricia Hoffman at the West Coast Ballet Theatre in San Diego. She also spent three years studying the Royal Academy of Dancing method with Joan and Monica Halliday at the Halliday Dance Centre in Sydney, Australia.

Abrera joined American Ballet Theatre as a member of the corps de ballet in 1996 and was appointed a Soloist in 2001. She was promoted to Principal Dancer in August 2015.”

Bravo. article, photo found article, photo found

Our star started lessons at 5 years old and loved ballet right from the start. By the time she was 8, she had a chance to star in The Nutcracker and never looked back.

A world traveler, in her early teens she lived in Australia since her father was a civil engineer and they moved every three years.

In 2014 she also had the opportunity to visit the Philippines to dance and saw the devastation caused by the Super Typhoon Haiyan.

It deeply moved her. She started a charity to help. Let’s please visit and learn.

“Steps Forward for the Philippines is a charitable fund created by a newly appointed Principal dancer of American Ballet Theatre, Stella Abrera. It is dedicated to serving the educational and creative needs of the children affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan. article, wikimedia photo A destroyed house on the outskirts of Tacloban on Leyte island. This region was the worst affected by the typhoon, causing widespread damage and loss of life. Caritas is responding by distributing food, shelter, hygiene kits and cooking utensils. (Photo: Eoghan Rice - Trócaire / Caritas) article, wikimedia photo A destroyed house on the outskirts of Tacloban on Leyte island. This region was the worst affected by the typhoon. (Photo: Eoghan Rice – Trócaire / Caritas)

Super Typhoon Haiyan, the most powerful storm in recorded history ever to make landfall, ripped through central Philippines on November 8, 2013. The storm affected 16 million people (including 5.9 million children), leaving 6,300 dead and four million displaced.”

Ms. Abrera speaks to her motivation. “I created Steps Forward for the Philippines, in partnership with Operation USA, to respond to the urgent need for educational access in Guiuan, the coastal municipality hit first and hardest by Haiyan. Operation USA is building a new school in the region and the goal of Steps Forward for the Philippines is to raise $20,000, which will directly provide educational equipment such as desks, chairs, chalkboards, audio-visual equipment, and computers for this new school.

The Philippines has a long history struggling with the wrath of nature by virtue of the region they inhabit.

Manila sits astride the Pacific typhoon belt and is crisscrossed by several fault lines. This led to Manila and its metropolitan region to be ranked as the second riskiest capital (city) to live in according to Swiss Re. The seismically active Marikina Valley Fault System poses a threat to Manila and the surrounding regions.

And yet despite it all, it is often described as a breathtaking jewel. article, Photo from gamabunta, posted in Wired New York. article, Photo from gamabunta, posted in Wired New York.

The global travel site Lonely Planet admires, “Manila’s moniker, the ‘Pearl of the Orient’, couldn’t be more apt – its cantankerous shell reveals its jewel only to those resolute enough to pry. No stranger to hardship, the city has endured every disaster both human and nature could throw at it, and yet today the chaotic metropolis thrives as a true Asian megacity. Skyscrapers pierce the hazy sky, mushrooming from the grinding poverty of expansive shantytowns, while gleaming malls foreshadow Manila’s brave new air-conditioned world. The congested roads snarl with traffic, but, like the overworked arteries of a sweating giant, they are what keep this modern metropolis alive.

As well as outstanding sightseeing, visitors who put in the effort will discover its creative soul – from edgy galleries to a lively indie music scene. Combine this with a penchant for speakeasy bars, artisan markets and single-origin coffees, it’s clear to see Manila’s not only one of Asia‘s most underrated cities, but one of its coolest.”

Stella Abrera is one of the dance world’s coolest performers. She always performs magnificently. article, photo article, photo

According to an August 8, 2016 article at, “In June, Abrera celebrated her 20th anniversary at ABT—an occasion the company feted at the end of her debut performance as Aurora in Sleeping Beauty at the Metropolitan Opera House. She was greeted on stage with a flurry of confetti, flowers, and friends and family who included her husband and former ABT soloist, Sascha Radetsky, and her best friend and fellow principal, Gillian Murphy.”

In this life of twists and turns, many of us may need some form of a comeback.

We can be inspired by Stella’s story that not only can you make a comeback, if you are determined and resolved, you can ascend to a much higher status and calling than before.

You can help an entire nation make a comeback.

~ ~ ~


Sources:, Wikipedia,, FCI Elite Competitor, photos thank you Wikimedia Commons.