I asked the incredible Mariya Popova for her responses to some questions about her development as a ballerina, Originally from Ukraine, Mariya has had the opportunity to dance in the USA and now is attending Kiev State Ballet School in Ukraine. Mariya is such an outstanding dancer, dances so gracefully and has an incredibly bright future ahead.
Q1: When did you start ballet?
I took my first ballet class when I was 4.
Q2: Where do you currently dance?
I just finished my second year at Kiev State Ballet School (КДХУ)! I’m not sure what’s next, but I’ll likely be returning to the States for the upcoming school year.
Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?
I’ve been on pointe for 6 years.
Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?
I wear Russian Pointe Rubins!
Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?
My father danced in his childhood, and my mom did rhythmic gymnastics. So when I was younger, they’d show me some the basics and I’d be walking on my tippy toes around the house all the time! They then asked me if I wanted to take dance classes and I said yes 🙂
Q6: What is your favourite variation?
I don’t think I have a favourite… Every ballet and variation is special in their own way, and I’d be happy to dance anything!
Q7: What company would you love to work for?
Any company with a welcoming community and a vast repertoire, ranging from classical to contemporary works. A plus if they tour often, as I love to travel and discovering new places and theaters!
Q8: Do you have a favourite memory/moment in ballet?
My favourite ballet memory would have to be the summer NYCB brought us out to Saratoga Springs, NY for a couple of performances in Circus Polka. I was training at The School of American Ballet, at the time. It was a lot of fun to be away from home for 2 weeks and doing what I love!
Q9: Who are your ballet roles models? Dancers that inspire you.
I’m inspired by a lot of professionals and even some aspiring dancers! When I see someone with unique qualities, in class or performing onstage, I try to learn from them and apply it to my dancing. A few people I look up to are Isabella Boylston, Catherine Hurlin, and Maria Kowroski.
Q10: Best advice you’ve ever received from a teacher?
I’ve gotten a lot of advice and corrections over the years, so it’s hard to recall which one hit me the most, or therefore was “the best”. One I do remember very vividly, however, was from when I was taking a class at a new studio. It was a pirouettes combination and I was playing it safe by doing doubles. The teacher stopped the music and asked me why I was afraid of, when we’re all here to learn, and he was absolutely right. So next time, I went for triples. It’s so important not to hold ourselves back, despite fear, or we are risking of not doing things at our fullest potential. Even if you fall, you’ll learn from it. If it works out, great! You’ve just maximized your comfort zone and increased level of capability. Always give it your all!
Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?
This is a tough one… Probably romantic.
Q12: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?
In my free time, I like to read, write, bike around my neighbourhood, listen to music, and watch YouTube videos! Just try to relax as much as possible before tackling the next day of training, if it’s a hectic time of year.