Month: June 2018

Q&A With American Ballerina Anna Foley

I recently had the pleasure of asking Anna Foley some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Anna is a fantastic dancer, she graces the stage with poise, beauty and grace. Her passion and dedication for ballet is unmatched. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

When I was 6 with the Saint Louis Ballet

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

Mercyhurst University Dance Department

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

10 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

Russian Pointe

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

After I saw the Saint Louis Ballet perform the Nutcracker when I was 5

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

Black Swan

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

Saint Louis Ballet or Paul Taylor

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

The first time I got fit for a tutu

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

Anna Pavlova and Isabella Boylston

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

Dance like you’re the best in the room even when you know you aren’t

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical

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

Spending time outdoors!

Q&A With American Ballerina Bridget Knox

I had the chance to ask Bridget Knox some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Bridget is an amazing dancer, she graces the stage with poise and grace. Her passion and dedication for ballet is incredible. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

3 years old

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

Hartt School

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

6 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

Suffolk

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I was put in by my mom and fell in love with it since

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

Flames of Paris

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

Pennsylvania Ballet

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

When I performed clara in The Nutcracker and was the happiest I’ve ever been performing on stage

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

Katie Manger a company member of Pennsylvania ballet

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

Don’t compare yourself to others, compare yourself to yourself yesterday

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical

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

I like to spend time with my friends and family

Q&A With American Ballerina Bella Northburg

I recently had the chance to ask Bella Northburg some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Bella is an amazing dancer, she graces the stage with poise and elegance. Her passion for ballet is phenomneal. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was 3 years old, so I have been doing ballet for about 13 years. Originally I loved other styles of dance more than ballet, but I had a teacher named Daniel Simmons who inspired me to one day become a professional ballet dancers.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I am currently dancing at Canyon Concert Ballet and at Denver Ballet Theater in Colorado, but I am looking into going somewhere year round next year.

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I got my first pair of pointe shoes when I was 10 years old, so I have been en pointe for about 6 years.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I am currently wearing Grishko Nova Flex.

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

Ballet has been apart of my family for many years. My mom was a dancer when she was younger and attended the Royal Ballet School when she was 12. She decided to put my older sister in classes and I really wanted to dance as well. When I was old enough she put me in a ballet class and I fell in love with dancing.

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I have a lot of favorite variations, but some of my favorites are Grand Pas Classique, Tailsman, and Balanchine’s Jewels variations.

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

There are many companies I would love to work for but my top companies are Boston Ballet, Houston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Ballet West, and PNB. I would love to work for a ballet company that does both a classical and contemporary repertoire.

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

My favorite ballet memory is when I got the opportunity to perform Les Sylphides and partner with the exceptional Adrian Fry, principal dancer with Ballet West.

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

There are so many breathtaking dancers that inspire me but some of my ballet role models are Isabella Boylston, Lia Cirio, Natasha Sheehan, and Tyler Donatelli.

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

The best advice I have ever received is to be confident and express yourself. Sometimes it’s hard to be confident when you are always comparing yourself to other dancers. My teacher always tells me not to be so hard on myself and to always be confident in my abilities. Also what really seems to set dancers apart is their performance quality. It is important to perform and express yourself whether you are on stage or in class.

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

I love both classical and romantic tutus, but I think classical are my favorite

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

I don’t have a lot of free time, but when I am not dancing I love spending time with my family, especially my little sister Piper. We love to ride our bikes, bake, swim, and watch movies together. I also love photography and drawing.

Q&A With Canadian Ballerina Sophie Poulain

 

I had the opportunity recently to ask Sophie Poulain some questions about her amazing journey as a ballerina. Sophie is an incredible dancer, she takes to the stage with poise and grace and dances so elegantly. Her dedication for ballet is incredible. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started dancing when I was three years old but I only started taking it seriously about 1.5 – 2 years ago!

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently don’t belong to any studio or school. My coach Jane Wooding (formerly of Canada’s National Ballet School) coaches me privately 6 days a week.

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I started pointe when I was 13 so 3 years ago!

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear Russian Pointe Bravas (and love them!!)

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

It sounds cheesy but when I was younger I ADORED ballet and I basically lived in a pink leotard and ballet shoes haha! I started taking classes and I’ve been hooked ever since!

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I don’t think I have one specific variation that sticks out but right now I really love a few variations from Raymonda; they’re technically demanding but also extremely artistically demanding which makes them wonderful to work on ❤️

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

The Paris Opera Ballet is definitely my dream company! Another big one would be the Mariinsky Theatre. I really love the repertoire of both of those companies right now and they both have such a rich history! I think that gives them a certain character that you don’t get with newer American companies.

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

I was lucky enough to compete at YAGP finals this year in New York this year and it was definitely unforgettable! It was great to take classes with teachers from all over the world and also to meet so many other dancers who share a common goal!

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

Olga Smirnova is a huge inspiration! I love everything she does and I really look up to her as an artist.

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

One of my teachers told me, before going into an audition pick 5 things that you feel confident about (whether it’s your turns or your feet or your ballon) and focus on those 5 things instead of focusing on what you think you can’t do or that you aren’t as good at.

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Depends on what I’m dancing haha!!

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

I don’t have a ton of free time outside of school and dance but I love playing piano and cooking! I’m a pretty creative person so really anything that I can be creative with, I like doing!

Q&A With American Ballerina Sophia Schepers

I recently had the pleasure of asking Sophia Schepers some questions about her incredible journey as a ballerina. Sophia is an amazing dancer, she graces the stage with poise and elegance. Her passion and dedication for ballet is unparalleled. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started dance when I was 4 and began taking ballet seriously when I was 8 or 9.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I dance at Dancers’ Alley and School of Missouri Contemporary Ballet.

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been on pointe for 4 years.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear Russian Pointe Rubins.

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My mentor Amanda Buchana saw potential in me in one of my first dance classes and then started doing privates with me.

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I like Odalisque!:)

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I personally would love to work with any American Ballet Company.

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

I loved when I got to be Clara in the Nutcracker.

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

Dusty Button because she started out as a competition dancer just like I did and then moved into ballet. Also I love Kathryn Morgan because she is very relatable.

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

My mentor Amanda Buchana told me that I should always focus on myself and improve for me and no one else.

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

I really like both but probably a romantic tutu.

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

I like to hang out with friends and be with my family.

Q&A With Canadian Ballerina Katherine Kanada

I recently had the chance to ask Katherine Kanada some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Katherine is an amazing dancer, she graces the stage with poise and beauty. Her passion and love for ballet is incredible. Below are her answers

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started dancing when I was 15 years old

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I just recently graduated from Victoria Academy of ballet

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I’ve been on pointe for 4 and 1/2 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear Grishko miracles

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I’ve always loved dance/ballet ever since I was young, and so badly wanted to take classes, but financially it was hard to pay for it, and part of my family didn’t support me. I would always look up how to videos on YouTube, like how to pirouette or fouetté, and id always be dancing around In my living room. I had moved to AZ, and I was struggling to fit in at school, so one of my aunts decided she’d like to support and put me into dance classes 🙂 and that’s how it started~

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favourite variation is raymonda (the clap variation)

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

Honestly, any company!

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

Every moment was my favourite. Just spending each and everyday with all my friends was such a blessing. Also one of my favourite moment is sharing the stage and performing along side them.

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

The people who inspire me are of course my teachers and peers. But dancers who inspire me Marianela Nunez, Misty Copeland, Maria Kochetkova and Steven MacRae

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

The best advice I’ve gotten from a teacher was to have courage, to be fearless and confident in whatever I do in life, dance related or not

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical!

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

I loooove going to the beach or doing anything outdoors! I’m such a nature person. I also enjoy going out for coffee or brunch with my friends

Q&A With American Ballerina Kendra Frank

I recently had the opportunity to ask Kendra Frank some questions about her incredible journey as a ballerina. Kendra is an amazing dancer, she takes to the stage with poise and grace, her dedication and love for ballet is unmatched. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was 2 years old. I did a little bit of jazz and hip hop, but I was always dancing ballet.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I am finishing my year up with Festival Ballet Providence School. This coming year I’ll be joining a new company in the Boston area.

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been on pointe for 10 years.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear Bloch European Balance.

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I got into ballet because my aunt had owned the school I started at.

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I have many favorite variations. Two of them would have to be Giselle and Harlequina

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I do not have a favorite company. I’m willing to dance anywhere. What ever company is welcome to take me as a dancer.

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

I think my favorite memories from dancing is the performances that I have touched people in the audience.

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

My dance role models are Natalia Osipova and Ashley Ellis.

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

Best advice I have been given from a teacher is when dancing a role to create a story through your own mind. So that the audience can really tell that you’re dancing with your heart.

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Romantic tutu

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

I love to adventure and find cool places that I have never been to.

Q&A With Japanese Ballerina Kaoru Blanchot

I had the chance to ask Kaoru Blanchot some questions about her amazing journey as a ballerina. Kaoru is an incredible dancer, she graces the stage with beauty and poise. Her dedication and passion for ballet is amazing. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

12 years old

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

Tokyo in a ballet school

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

About 10 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

Grishko

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

First, I went to a jazz dance lesson and the teacher recommended me I should dance ballet

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

Sugar Plum

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

Vaganova academy of Russian ballet

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

When I danced on stage with my husband

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

Alina Cojocaru, Evgenia Obraztsova

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

When on stage, the best is to be half nervous half calm

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

I prefer classical tutu

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

When I’m with my family and pets

Q&A With Ballerina Sofya Miroslava

I had the chance to ask Sofya Miroslava some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Sofya is a phenomenal dancer, she graces the stage with poise and beauty. Her passion for ballet is incredible. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet at the age of 2 and a half.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

Currently I am attending International Ballet Academy but I am striving towards Vaganova Ballet Academy as well as Bolshoi Ballet Academy.

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been an pointe for approximately 2 years.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I am currently wearing Grishko Pro’s and wouldn’t trade them for any brand or pair of pointe shoes.

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I fell in love with ballet at the age of 2 after I had learned that I could become someone so strong and passionate. The thought of knowing that I could learn to dance on my toes had astonished me with every aspect. Although I New it would take a lot of pain and effort I was and still to this day am determined to become a Prima Ballerina who too inspires other little girls and boys to accomplish beyond the impossible.

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I personally love the variation of the Sugar Plum Fairy due to its ability to strive for magic. I first fell in love with this variation after having Prima ballerina Ekaterina Kukhar perform this variation for my studios Nutcracker. The twinkle in her eyes and the elegance that she had brought to the stage was truly none other than magic!

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

As I had said within my answer for question 2, my dream school is Vaganova Ballet Academy in-fact I will be trying to audition next year within around January, but Bolshoi Ballet Academy has also been a favorite of mine as well.

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

I would have to say that my personal favorite memory was performing within Tanzolymp Berlin in front of Iana Salenko. Aside from that, during my rehearsals I deeply treasured having Ekaterina Kukhar as an audience as well. They inspire me to strive beyond what I think is possible and they are my most treasured audiences.

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

As I had listed within my previous answer my personal favorite dancers within the ballet world would be Iana Salenko and Ekaterina Kukhar!

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

“No one wants to see the possible. Everyone wants to see the impossible.”- Vera Altunina

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical.

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

Personally I am always working or stretching but if I am ever to have some spare time I enjoy drawing, reading, Enjoying some fresh air, keeping in shape, taking pilate classes, as well as playing with my beloved dog!

Q&A With American Ballerina Rocky Despain

I recently had the pleasure of asking Rocky Despain some questions about her amazing journey as a ballerina. Rocky is an amazing dacner, she graces the stage with poise and grace. Her dedication to ballet is unmatched. Below are her answers.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

2001 (16 years)

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I dance at Oklahoma City Ballet

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I’ve been on pointe for about 9 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear Russian pointe Rubin

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I was three and I asked my mom to sign me up and she found a local ballet studio for me to go to

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

Black Swan

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

English National Ballet

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

I went to the Tulsa ballets Dracula, and when the corpse members all came out as Dracula’s brides, I thought there was thousands of them, and it was magical for me to see at 9 years old

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

I look up to Mikhail Baryshnikov

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

“Say f**k it and dance”

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Romantic Tutu

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

I love to read Shakespeare, poetry of all types (ex: world war 1, John Keats) and other classic books.