The Empowerment Project Dances Through Utah With ‘Breaking Pointe’s’ Beckanne Sisk

Hello from Vanessa, the documentary shooter of The Empowerment Project!

Washington State was a blast! Days are going by really fast and this adventure has been incredible up to now!  We left Washington State on Thursday September 12th headed to Montana. What a drive! The landscape was simply breathtaking. Forests and forests, nature gave us first row tickets to enjoy her wonderful show. Traveling is the best way to admire and appreciate how places can be so different. Sometimes you really lose track of how big the USA is.


I was driving once we hit the state line with Idaho. The highway we took was such a scenic route: pine trees everywhere, mountains and lakes. We hit the state line of Montana with its stunning blue sky full of stars. The darker it got the more we felt isolated. Very small towns and fewer shops and gas station along the way. After a short stop in Missoula for dinner where Sarah randomly met one of her friends who was working in the area, we arrived at Basin. We stayed at the beautiful Stone House, a super cute house, which has been remodeled and is the stop of many tourists who pass by the area.

Basin has a very small population (about 250 people) and it used to be a favorite retreat location for many artists and writers. After taking some crazy pictures in the middle of the street (yes, no cars driving by except one every 30 minutes), I randomly pulled a very old bell standing at a street corner which rang twice. A woman came by and asked if we needed anything.  Ringing the bell was the signal for “I need help”. She was the one who told us stories about Basin and how artistic the town still tries to be with local shops and galleries.

Let’s say that the morning of Friday September 13th was not an easy one. After hearing about the flooding that happened in Boulder (our next destination on The Empowerment Project map), Sarah and Dana decided to reroute to Salt Lake City, Utah. Sarah worked on Dancing With The Stars for 10 years and she knows there is a large dance community there, so she thought this could be the chance to go there and avoid Boulder which has faced the worst flooding in 100 years! We re-arranged the interview with our talent in Denver, pulled a few strings and managed to confirm Ballerina Beckanne Sisk for Salt Lake City!

Jumping for joy

This meant we had finally no worries and we could really enjoy our stopover in Yellowstone National Park. We arrived at the national park later than we expected because we worked all morning planning for Utah but we were so excited to be there, even knowing we were going to stay for two hours and see a small part of it. First of all, if you have never been to Yellowstone, you have to go! It is “bellissimo” like I would say in Italian! Bears, elks, bison, we saw them all! Did you know that Bison run three times faster than men?

We took some pretty amazing group pictures and you could just feel how much we loved those group moments. I think somehow this has been one of the peaks of this trip for me. After the first week, spent kind of getting to know each other, now we can say we are starting to getting to know each other pretty well, every day little by little.

It was so pretty to look at the sun setting through the trees and the mountains and spotting more wildlife come out to look for food.

Saturday September 14th passed by quickly. Traveling allows you to break down those barriers that you sometimes hold on to in your daily life. Traveling is like taking a leap of faith into the unknown part of you. It is stepping out of your comfort zone, especially when you do it with people that you don’t know. But how wonderful to discover more about you and more about your companions. The places we see, the stories we share, the laughs, the serious moments, and the moments we are so focused on what we are shooting you can feel the electricity in the air, the women we are meeting and the inspiration we are getting from every person we meet and every place we are visiting… What an incredible lifetime moment to experience at its best!

Yellowstone National Park

Sunday September 15th we drove from Park City, Utah where we stayed for two nights, to Salt Lake City, at the Salt Lake City Ballet (SLC Ballet) where we interviewed Beckanne Sisk, super talented soloist at the Ballet West. Beckanne is 21 years old and she is an incredible young woman! Many of you might have seen her on The CW’s “Breaking Pointe” reality TV show but for me, as I didn’t know her, it was a wonderful surprise to hear her story and how determined and passionate she has been since she was a child wanting to become a ballerina.

She said some incredible things that I believe in as well: everything happens for a reason, good or bad. If it’s something incredible you are experiencing enjoy it, because it is not going to last forever and if something bad is happening, don’t worry because it is going to pass and it going to teach you something.

Beckanne Sisk

Being a famous ballerina and a role model for many young girls, Beckanne had definitely many stories to share. She left home at 14 to move to a dance school and besides the very hard moments, she never gave up. I related to her very well because, even if at age of 21, I left my Italian home and family for an exchange program at University of California in Santa Barbara back in 2004 and I moved to Los Angeles in 2007 where I have been ever since. I know what it means not to have family around but still feeling their support from far away.

It’s the passion you have for what you love to do that is the fuel that keeps you going so that is why Beckanne Sisk is who she is today: a strong young woman who loves to wake up in the morning and work hard to dance and be on stage at her best.

It is hard, it is painful (check her Instagram to see some of her feet photos) but it fills you with energy and happiness and you feel satisfied with all the sacrifices you make along the way. Did I mention that we also tried some ballet moves thanks to Hillary, the co-owner of the Salt Lake City Ballet? Ballet is a very crafted and technical art and it takes a lot of physical effort. Hillary was incredible as she also told us about the choices she made to become a young business owner at the of 23 a couple of years ago and spread in the community the love for ballet dancing, while giving up her professional career touring in Europe.

Empowerment crew with Beckanne

We were so inspired to be around Beckanne, Hillary and Ivonne, one of her students who came to meet us and show us some moves, and Eva, our mentee for Salt Lake City, a very smart girl who is studying Anthropology and Documentary Studies at University of Utah. After, we were exhausted and had to do a 9 hour-drive to Denver, Colorado, the next day. Another city is waiting to be empowered and we are eager to travel towards another adventure!

Keep following us,


(Pictures courtesy of: Alana Fickes)



  1. You gals are so smart to get in another interview with another talented women! I marvel at how you find these folks and an intern too! I have been to Yellowstone and it is a wonder to behold. Love the pictures and the updates.

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