Month: June 2018

Q&A With American Ballerina Maddie Growney

I recently had the chance to ask Maddie Growney some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Her grace and poise while on stage is incredible, she is incredibly dedicated and passionate about ballet and this is evident with her performances. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet at the age of two.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently dance at The Rock School for Dance Education and Tricia Sloan Dance Center.

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been on pointe for six years.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

The pointe shoe brand I currently wear are Russian Pointes.

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My mom put me in ballet at a young age and I just kept going with it.

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favorite variation is La Fille Mal Gardee, Act 1 variation.

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

The company I would love to work for is Miami City Ballet.

Q8: Do you have a favourite memory/moment in ballet?

Performing as Dewdrop in the Nutcracker.

Q9: Who are your ballet roles models? Dancers that inspire you.

Gelsey Kirkland is my ballet role model.

Q10: Best advice you’ve ever received from a teacher?

The best advice I received from a teacher is to push yourself because if your comfortable than your not learning.

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical tutu.

Q12: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?

In my free time, I like to spend time with friends and watch Netflix.

Q&A With American Ballerina Maya Giron

I recently had the pleasure of asking Maya Giron some questions about her amazing journey as a ballerina. Maya is an amazing dancer who dances with incredible passion and dedication to ballet. She graces the stage with poise and strength. Below are her answers

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet in the Fall of 2011.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently dance at Ballet Royale Minnesota in the professional trainee division (day program) and with Twin Cities Ballet as an apprentice.

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I’ve been on pointe for 3 1/2 years.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear Russian Pointe Rubins.

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I took a few classes when I was really little and lived in Europe. When I moved here, I just stuck to it and have never looked back since.

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favorite variation depends on the ones that I’m working on. One that’s up there for me though is Cupid. It’s deceivingly hard, and I absolutely love playing the character.

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to work with any company that values me and my dancing. It’s all about finding the perfect fit!😊

Q8: Do you have a favourite memory/moment in ballet?

I would say my favorite memory in ballet would be the moment I realized that little girls at my studio look up to me. It’s beyond humbling, and I can only hope that I’m setting good enough of an example!

Q9: Who are your ballet roles models? Dancers that inspire you.

Dancers that inspire you. The company members of Twin Cities Ballet are role models for me because they are a constant reminder of what is possible and what is out there once I graduate from high school.

Q10: Best advice you’ve ever received from a teacher?

As cliche as it may sound, the best advice I’ve received from a teacher is “practice makes perfect.” I remind myself of that every time I think I can’t practice anymore because I’m so tired.

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Definitely classical! Although I do love the new ombré romantic tutus (like Misa Kuranaga wears)!

Q12: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?

When I’m not dancing, I love doing arts and crafts. Recently, I’ve had some time off since my ballet season has ended, and I actually started a pointe shoe decorating business. Besides that, I love spending time with my friends.😊

Q&A With American Ballerina Alina Gonzalez

I recently had the opportunity to ask Alina Gonzalez some questions about her incredible journey as a ballerina. Alina is a wonderful dancer who graces the stage with poise, elegance and beauty. Her passion and dedication to ballet is unparalleled. Below are her answers

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was 5.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently dance at Contra Costa Ballet Centre.

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I’ve been en pointe for about 6 years now.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I’ve been wearing Bloch Heritage for around 3 years now and I love them! They fit my foot perfectly and don’t die super fast. They also feel wonderful.

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I had always wanted to do ballet for as long as I remember, and eventually my grandma put me into ballet after I begged enough. My grandma was planning on it anyways, because she took ballet in Cuba at my age but stopped before she would dance professionally.

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I have many favorites, but my absolute favorite would be Aurora’s Act III variation.

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I’d love to dance for Oregon Ballet Theatre!

Q8: Do you have a favourite memory/moment in ballet?

I have many favorite memories, but something I will always remember is the crowd’s applause I got for my first principal role bow.

Q9: Who are your ballet roles models? Dancers that inspire you.

Marianela Nuñez is my absolute queen! I also look up to Alicia Alonso.

Q10: Best advice you’ve ever received from a teacher?

The best advice I’ve received is not to feel discouraged by a “lack of progress”. For every three steps forward you take, you take one backwards; But in the end, you’re farther than you began.

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical!

Q12: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?

I just like to relax at home.

Q&A With American Ballerina Katie Kennard

I recently had the pleasure of asking Katie Kennard some questions about her incredible journey as a ballerina. Katie is a phenomenal dancer, she dances on stage with poise, grace and beauty, her passion for ballet is incredible. Below are her answers

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was 5, so 15 years ago.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I just finished the 2017-2018 season as a Trainee with BalletMet in Columbus, Ohio.

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been en pointe for 8 years.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear Freed 5x deep vamp wing block shoes, and my favorite maker is wineglass.

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My mom signed me up for a recreational ballet class after I would dance along to the rhythm in Dr. Seuss books. It was evident to her I needed to move and could find a creative outlet with ballet. For a long time, none of my family thought of ballet as a career, just a hobby.

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favorite variation is Myrtha from Giselle because I love grande allegro!

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

If I could choose to be a part of any company, it would definitely be Houston Ballet. I attended their summer program, and when the company dancers would take class I was in absolute awe. Their technique was flawless and the dancers artistry was incredible.  Houston Ballet has amazing rep as well.

Q8: Do you have a favourite memory/moment in ballet?

My favorite memory was opening night of Serenade. I had the honor of dancing with the BalletMet company ladies in my favorite ballet. I finally felt like all my hard work was beginning to pay off, and I was over the moon to have an opportunity like that.

Q9: Who are your ballet roles models? Dancers that inspire you.

My ballet role models have always been my teachers and friends. I have always found watching my peers so inspiring.  I admire the BalletMet company ladies for their work ethics and the way they help and support the trainees when we are involved in their rep. They are always willing to help us become better artists.

Q10: Best advice you’ve ever received from a teacher?

The best advice I’ve ever received from a teacher is to chase my dreams with 100% passion. Brooke always told me to just dance – something I just recently was able to discover. While technique is so important, ballet is even more powerful when it comes from the heart.

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical tutus will always be my favorite.

Q12: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?

When I’m not dancing, I try and keep myself busy & active!  I’m a Trainer at Title Boxing Club.  I love outdoor adventures, baking, and spending time with friends.

Q&A With American Ballerina Dana Jensen

I recently had the opportunity to ask Dana Jensen some questions about her experiences as a ballerina. Dana is an amazing dancer who has a strong passion and dedication for ballet. She graces the stage with poise and beauty. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was 12 – a lot later than most! I wish I had started when I was younger.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I dance at Goucher College.

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been en pointe for 6 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

Grishko Nova Flex!

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My family always took me to the ballet when I was little, but for some reason I never liked it! However, when I was 12 I had a change of heart, and after watching a performance of Peter Pan, I decided I wanted to take ballet lessons.

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

2nd Odalisque variation from Le Corsaire!

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I don’t think I want to dance professionally – I’m more interested in choreography, and I would love to choreograph for many different companies!

Q8: Do you have a favourite memory/moment in ballet?

Although not a specific moment, I really loved performing in the Nutcracker. It wasn’t even what happened on stage that I found the most fun; the backstage atmosphere was just so lovely and exciting. Since classes weren’t in session over the holidays, Nutcracker performances were when I got to hang out with all of my friends, and we had a good time no matter what our part was!

Q9: Who are your ballet roles models? Dancers that inspire you.

I have so many! Isabella Boylston, James Whiteside, Tiler Peck, Ashley Bouder, and Misty Copeland, just to name a few!

Q10: Best advice you’ve ever received from a teacher?

I think the best advice I’ve ever received is to leave all my “baggage” outside the studio. Ballet class is a place to escape from negative emotions and all the stress that comes along with our busy lives. If you go into a class with a less-than-positive mindset, not only are you not going to improve, but you’re not going to have fun. Ballet is hard, that’s for sure, and it’s impossible to always be upbeat, especially when you’re struggling with a step or skill. However, doing your best to come into the studio with an open mind and a willingness to learn and enjoy yourself is so important.

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Romantic tutu!

Q12: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?

I love drawing and doing other crafts – recently I’ve started making artwork with dead pointe shoes! I also enjoy spending time with my friends, watching YouTube videos, and going on bike rides.

Q&A With American Ballerina Gillian Carr

I had the opportunity recently to ask Gillian Carr some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Gillian graces the stage with poise and elegance, her dedication and passion for ballet is unparalleled. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet at a local competition studio at age 4.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently dance at BalletMet Dance Academy in Columbus Ohio. I take jazz, tap, character, and modern, in addition to my ballet and pointe classes.

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been en pointe for 5 years.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I have worn Bloch pointe shoes for a while now. I love my Bloch Axioms! They have been great every time.

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I started dance at age 4 at a local competition studio. My parents put me in dance because I was always dancing around the house in my sisters old costumes. At age 7, I told my parent that Ballet was my favorite style and that I wanted to be a professional ballerina. Then I started dancing at BalletMet to have more focused ballet training!

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

This is a really hard question, as there is so many I love! It would be a dream to do Flames of Paris or anything Balanchine! ❤️

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

Honestly I would love to work as a professional ballerina at any company. My favorite companies include Houston Ballet and San Francisco Ballet, as well as BalletMet!

Q8: Do you have a favourite memory/moment in ballet?

One of my most cherished ballet memories was when I was selected as Young Clara in The Nutcracker. My second year as Clara, I was asked to travel to Detroit with the company, which was such a valuable experience.

Q9: Who are your ballet roles models? Dancers that inspire you.

One of my biggest role models is BalletMet company dancer, Caitlin Valentine-Ellis. She is such a stunning artist, as well as a genuine and humble person. I love meeting with her and talking about everything dance! I would also have to say that all the BalletMet company dancers are such big inspirations to me, and it’s so special seeing them work in the studios.

Q10: Best advice you’ve ever received from a teacher?

“If you have two wolves, a positive and negative one, the one that will win is the one you feed.”

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

I love both, I can’t pick! 💞

Q12: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?

In my free time I love to take pictures, and spend time with my sister. We love making fun recipes together such as, avocado chocolate mousse, and protein bites! yum!

Q&A With American Ballerina Katie L

I recently had the opportunity of asking Katie L, she’s an incredible dancer, Katie graces the stage with grace and poise. Her passion and dedication for ballet is immense. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started dancing when I was 4 years old, right after my family moved back to the US from Russia.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I dance at a really small studio called Creative Movement.

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I’ve been en pointe for 6 years now.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I’m currently wearing Suffolk Sterlings. But I’ve had 15 different types of pointe shoes over the years. I have difficult feet to fit.

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I decided I wanted to start dancing after I saw the Bolshoi Ballet perform “The Sleeping Beauty” when I lived in Russia.

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favorite variation has to be Aurora’s act 1 variation right after the Rose Adagio.

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to dance for Ballet West. I did their summer intensive and it was AMAZING. The teachers and dancers are so wonderful and the environment is so friendly and caring.

Q8: Do you have a favourite memory/moment in ballet?

My favorite moment has to be when I found out that I would be performing as Aurora in my studios upcoming performance of Sleeping Beauty, which is my dream role.

Q9: Who are your ballet roles models? Dancers that inspire you.

Svetlana Zacharova, obviously, she’s so beautiful and her dancing is so full of emotion. I also love Isabella Boyleston because of her individuality and how it shines through in everything she does.

Q10: Best advice you’ve ever received from a teacher?

I can’t even choose. I’ve had the privilege of having so many wonderful teachers, each of whom have had great advice for me. One great piece of advice would be to never compare yourself to other dancers, your body and your abilities are completely unique to you, and can’t be compared to anyone else. You can’t force yourself to become another dancer, you can only improve upon yourself.

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical! I love the look. Romantic tutus are so hot. They’re like an oven for your legs.

Q12: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?

I actually have started making tutu overlays and bodices recently. It’s really fun and I actually got to make my own costume for my role as Aurora! I also love to read, and I actually play Dungeons and Dragons with some of my friends (nerdy, I know). Other than that, I like watching Netflix. The Office is my all-time favorite show.

Q&A With Amazing Contortionist HeeJin Diamond

I recently had the opportunity to ask the amazing Mongolian contortionist Heejin Diamond some questions about her wonderful career as a contortionist.

How long have done contortion for?

I started contortion when I was 6 years old.

How did you start contortion?

In Mongolia, contortion is a big traditional discipline. My mother said i was 5 years old when I discovered contortion by watching TV. It was like a flash on me that suddenly I wanted to make the same things. After lot of times by bending myself in living room, my parents inscribed me in contortion school to calm me, they thought it was just a desire in transient. The passion never leaved me.

13 years old, I started to be professional and marked the start of international tours all by continuing my elementary school.

How often do you train and for how long?

I rehearse minimum 2 hours if I am not on the stage.

When I work every day like now from last year, I rehears 1 hour in the morning and I do 1 hour of warming up before going on the stage.

I also have my ballet class once per week and I also do pole dance class because it’s technically so amusing for me.

What is your favourite contortion move/trick?

I am also handstand artist. I mostly like the research of hand standing and movements which procure me more sensation. Play with the gravity and hand standing is more creative for me.

What has been your best contortion experience?

I think it was the creation of my first solo act Snow Queen. With my husband who accompanied me in my all projects, we passed entire year to design and create it. That was like our first baby, LOL

What is your ultimate contortion goal/dream?

There is a lot, thanks god. Being artist is a performant war of the new dreams and challenges.

I just opened my studio (Diamond Studio) in the center of Paris where I form professional artists, I work on the creation of two new acts, I work every night in Paradis Latin, one of the most beautiful Cabarets in Paris built by Gustave Eiffel and I turn around with my 3 different acts… I don’t live my life I dream it.

 

Q&A With American Ballerina Daisy Wyatt

I recently had the opportunity to ask Daisy Wyatt some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Daisy is an incredible dancer, she graces the stage with poise and elegance, her dedication for ballet is unmatched. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was 3, but started seriously training in a program when I was 12.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I dance at Artistic Motion Preparatory Academy.

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been en pointe for 4 years.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear Gaynor Mindens, but I also like Ghrisko 2007

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

When I was little, I would dance all around my house (I still do 😜), so my mom signed me up for ballet classes and I would look forward to them so much every week.

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I love the Aurora act 3 variation, partly because I just danced Aurora in sleeping beauty and fell in love with the role Aurora.

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

My absolute dream company is ABT, but I would also love to dance anywhere in Europe such as Italy or Switzerland.

Q8: Do you have a favourite memory/moment in ballet?

My favorite moment is probably yesterday, I performed my dream role of Aurora in Sleeping Beauty and that was so amazing.

Q9: Who are your ballet roles models? Dancers that inspire you.

I look up to Diana Vishneva and Natalia Osipova. As well as Evegenia, Alina, Ulyana and Olga Smirnova.

Q10: Best advice you’ve ever received from a teacher?

I have received so much amazing advice from my teachers, all the corrections they give are so helpful, and I appreciate their honesty.

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Both!!!!

Q12: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?

I don’t have much free time, between school and dance but sometimes on Sundays I get to take a nice Epsom salt bath and drink tea, which is always nice to help relax my muscles. I also babysit occasionally and enjoy that as well!

Q&A With Singaporean Ballerina Charmaine Celesse

I recently had the opportunity to ask Charmaine Celesse some questions about her amazing journey as aballerina. Charmaine is an amazing dancer who graces the stage with poise, grace and elegance, her dedication and passion for ballet is unmatched. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was 5, but didn’t like  it then, and only started taking it seriously when I was 8

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

Queensland National Ballet School

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

8 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

Gaynor Mindens 💛

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My mum took me to baby ballet classes when I was 5, but what made me really want to take ballet seriously was watching professional dancers for the first time when I was 6 or 7 and knowing that that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

Oh this is a hard question, but if I had to choose… my top 3 would be Swan Lake pas de trois 2nd variation, Flames of Paris, and Grand Pas Classique

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

At the moment I have my eyes on Scottish Ballet and Melbourne City Ballet

Q8: Do you have a favourite memory/moment in ballet?

My favourite memory would be performing and practising pas de deuxs with my best friend (who is now in MCB) and fooling around with him during breaks 😀

Q9: Who are your ballet roles models? Dancers that inspire you.

Natalia Osipova and Anna Tikhomirova, without a doubt

Q10: Best advice you’ve ever received from a teacher?

Don’t think too literally, think more about the bigger picture

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical tutu for sure

Q12: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?

Since I’m doing full-time university on top of full-time ballet, my “free time” when I’m not dancing would be catching up on uni work and assignments. During my actual, but very little, free time, I usually go to the gym, do pilates, stretch, hang out with friends or sleep hahaha