I recently had the chance to ask Tessa Karle some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Tessa is an amazing dancer, she graces the stage with poise and grace, her passion and dedication to ballet is incredible. Below are her responses.
Q1: When did you start ballet?
I started dancing when I was 4 years old.
Q2: Where do you currently dance?
I’m currently in my first year at the New Zealand School of Dance in Wellington, but I’m originally from Canberra, Australia.
Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?
I went on pointe when I was 11, so I’ve been on pointe for around 5 1/2-6 years now!
Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?
I wear Bloch Heritage pointe shoes. They were my first style of pointe shoes that I tried when I was 11 and whilst I’ve tried other styles and brands since then, I’ve always just loved Heritage shoes so I’ve stuck with them!
Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?
I was always fascinated with ballet as a kid, Angelina Ballerina was my favourite show and whenever classical music was playing I would always dance to it. My parents never forced me into dancing, I actually begged them to enrol me in ballet lessons! I am so grateful that my parents have always been so laidback about dance so that it has been simply my passion for dance that has got me this far and not my parents pushing me.
Q6: What is your favourite variation?
My favourite variation would definitely have to be Giselle. Whilst I love the technical challenge of other variations, there is something so special about a variation that focuses on artistry and telling a story through the movement. I’ve been really lucky this year to work with several teachers and guest tutors on the Giselle variation and it has amazed me how many different things you can learn from each teacher about the one variation and how you approach it artistically.
Q7: What company would you love to work for?
I would love to be in the Australian Ballet, Queensland Ballet, Royal New Zealand Ballet or West Australian Ballet as it would be so amazing to find a company closer to home so I would be able to visit my family more readily. Overall though I would be willing to go to one of the many different companies around the world as I know how competitive it is to find work as a ballet dancer and just would love to be able to do what I love professionally anywhere in the world.
Q8: Do you have a favourite memory/moment in ballet?
I think some of my favourite ballet memories involve performance opportunities. There is nothing better than the feeling of being onstage with people who you’ve worked so hard in the studio with for months and finally getting to show all of the work you’ve put in. There’s nothing like a tough show or piece to bring you closer to people and that’s one of the things that makes ballet so special.
Q9: Who are your ballet roles models? Dancers that inspire you.
My all time favourite dancer would definitely have to be Marianela Nunez! I adore the way she combines both beautiful technique with such raw emotion and artistry. She is truly the epitome of the perfect ballerina for me.
Q10: Best advice you’ve ever received from a teacher?
To never stop working hard and to stay dedicated. Even if you don’t have the best facility or aren’t the most talented person in the room, you stand out if you work the hardest and love ballet with everything you have. This is something I try to think of even if I am having a hard day or if things aren’t working out exactly as I imagined. You will get where you want to be eventually if you keep going!
Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?
As much as I love romantic tutus, classical tutus will always have my heart. I still remember the excitement of getting to wear my first tutu when I was younger!
Q12: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?
In my free time, I love to bake and cook, watch YouTube, and do things with my friends. Never underestimate the value of spending quality time with friends, it can improve your mood so much and set you up for a great week. It’s so great sometimes to get away from dance and experience new things, and often you can use those experiences to bring something new to your dancing.