Maria Kowroski has been a dancer with New York City Ballet since 1994.

"Dancing is like breathing to so many of us, and we just want to get out there and do what we love while we still can," she says. "It means everything to dancers in the New York City Ballet to get on stage and perform. It is something we've been doing since we were 5 years old. We're all just counting down the days until the doors open in a safe way."

What You Need To Know

  • NYC Ballet Principal Dancer Maria Kowroski talks about her struggles with coping with the COVID-19 shutdown

  • NYC Ballet has announced performances for September and is already hard at work figuring out how to keep audiences safe

  • A brand-new episode of On Stage focuses on efforts to reopen NYC Ballet

I asked Kowroski if she feels like she was robbed.

"I think in the beginning of the pandemic, I felt like I was being robbed, and I was very emotional. I was very sad. There were times I wanted to give up. I just wanted to leave quietly and not return to the stage. I got very depressed," she says. "But I think as the months went on, it became very clear to me. Obviously, I was not the only one going through this devastating time, and having taught a lot of students over this course of the time, you realize that some of these students are in their final year of a ballet school, trying to get into a company where there are no jobs. So yes, I did feel robbed, but at the same time, when you put it into perspective, you know, I'm not, I'm not in the front lines working 14-hour shifts, you know? So it is something that has been truly, truly hard to comprehend. But I do feel lucky that I am here. I'm still trying to make it to the finish line. And hopefully I will."