I recently had the chance to ask Ava Burns some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Ava is a phenomenal dancer, she graces the stage with incredible poise and grace. Her passion and love for ballet is unmatched. Below are her responses.
Q1: When did you start ballet?
I started ballet when I was four, so 16 years ago
Q2: Where do you currently dance?
I currently dance as a trainee with BalletMet in Columbus OH, But for the past two years, I have been a Ballet Major at the College – Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, They have a co-op program which allows me to continue to be a junior in college and receive credit to be a trainee at the same time. So I will get my Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major in Ballet while also being a trainee at BalletMet for the next two years.
Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?
I have been en pointe for 11 years. I got my first pointe shoes when I was 9 years old.
Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?
I currently wear Suffolk Spotlights
Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?
So I started ballet because when I was four, I would put all my stuffed animals and dolls on the stairs as my audience, and I would sing and dance for them. So my mom decided to put me in classes. I got more seriously involved in ballet when I joined a pre-professional ballet company when I was in eighth grade called Gem City Ballet which is based in Springboro, Ohio (South of Dayton, Ohio). I would dance 32 hours a week while still enrolled in a public high school.
Q6: What is your favourite variation?
My favorite variation is from Walpurgisnacht because it has everything I love from pique turns and fourettes. But I also love Kitri’s variation from Act 3 from Don Quixote. My dream role is to be Myrtha from Giselle.
Q7: What company would you love to work for?
My dream company would be The Australian Ballet because they have such amazing dancers and such a versatile repertoire.
Q8: Do you have a favourite memory/moment in ballet?
My favorite memory in ballet would have to be getting chosen to perform the role of Paquita and getting to go on stage and flirt with the audience and showcase that character onstage with my partner. It is such an infectious sensation.
Q9: Who are your ballet roles models? Dancers that inspire you.
My ballet role model would have to be Iana Salenko. She was the first ballerina I ever followed on Instagram and she is so effortlessly stunning. I also love Fumi Kaneko and Tonia Looker.
Q10: Best advice you’ve ever received from a teacher?
Edwaard Liang, the artistic director of BalletMet, told us in class one day that “yes, you are a dancer, but first you are a human being.’’ Something else he also said was, “Teachers love it when you apply a correction that they give and they love to see you working hard in class, but end the end, it’s not about them. This is about you and your career. You always need to be dancing for yourself, not anyone else.” But a more personal correction that I got from my modern professor at CCM from Andre Megardichian was, “Atuning yourself to subtler sensations, so that a whisper is just as profound as a shouted word.” I am working on this correction because it is so hard to find the whisper in my dancing as I am such a powerhouse and dynamic, jumping type dancer. But in order to be a versatile dancer, the softness and slow side of ballet and dance in general is also very important. It is so easy to feel hard work and to dance for that, but dance is so much more than that.
Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?
I love the classical tutu because I love doing ballets that usually come with that tutu.
Q12: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?
I am hanging out with my best friends and we love to get Froyo. I am usually the loudest one of my friends. I love making a fool of myself whether it’s in public or in private. I also love embarrassing my boyfriend by dancing being “extra”