I recently had the opportunity of asking MaryJo O’Connor some questions about her incredible journey as a ballerina. MaryJo is an amazing dancer, she graces the stage so elegantly, she dances with poise, beauty and strength. Her passion and dedication to ballet is phenomenal. Below are her responses.
Q1: When did you start ballet?
I started ballet when I was 6 years old. I started training professionally when I was 15.
Q2: Where do you currently dance?
I’m currently training with Evelyn Hart.
Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?
I’ve been en Pointe for 5 years.
Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?
I’m currently wearing Gaynor Minden Pointe shoes.
Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?
My mom enrolled me in classes because every time music would come on, I would just move around for hours in my own little world. I remember seeing the National Ballet of Canada’s performance of Giselle for the first time and being mesmerized by what I saw.
Q6: What is your favourite variation?
This is a difficult question but I love grande pas classique, white swan, and the 3rd Shade from La Bayadere.
Q7: What company would you love to work for?
My Dream companies include The Royal Ballet , American Ballet Theatre, Dutch National Ballet, and the National Ballet of Canada.
Q8: Do you have a favourite memory/moment in ballet?
I remember learning a corps part in Balanchine’s “Serenade” and it being both the most challenging and magical experience. The music and movement touched my soul in a way that I am struggling to put into words. The work that was put into it also really taught me lessons both mentally and physically
Q9: Who are your ballet roles models? Dancers that inspire you.
I could talk for hours about those who inspire me and why . I look up to professionals such as Marianela Nunez, Steven McRae, Jurgita Dronina, Sylvie Guillem, Lauren Lovette, Tiler Peck, Sara Mearns, Isabella Boylston, Chelsy Meiss, Svetlana Lunkina, Iana Salenko , the list goes on forever.
Q10: Best advice you’ve ever received from a teacher?
As a ballet dancer you must have an equal balance of confidence and humility . Fear is what holds you back where as in a reality, it is made up. The antidote to fear is work.
Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?
I love both but I’m going to have to say Classical.
Q12: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?
I enjoy writing, singing , and modelling when I’m not dancing . I also love meeting up with friends for food and tea/coffee. I enjoy being active in nature, waterskiing at my cottage , and star gazing at night . I’m all for sharing laughs and making memories.