I had the chance recently to ask Emma Dowling some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Emma is an excellent dancer, she takes to the stage with incredible poise and grace. Her love for ballet is immense. Below are her responses.
Q1: When did you start ballet?
I started when I was 9 years old, but before that I did calisthenics and gymnastics
Q2: Where do you currently dance?
I dance at The Australian Ballet School!
Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?
I have been on point since I was 11 or 12 ish back when I went to the Jane Moore Academy of Dance
Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?
I wear the Bloch Aspiration point shoes. They’ve been the only point shoes I’ve had for agessss
Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?
My sister was in ballet before I was and I came to see the end of year concert the JMAB (Jane Moore Academy of Ballet) and absolutely loved it! That’s what inspired me to start
Q6: What is your favourite variation?
Wow it’s super hard for me to choose a favourite variation, but I think I’d have to choose a classic which is Auroras Weddings. It was my first proper variation I danced on stage and it’s quite special to me
Q7: What company would you love to work for?
I would say my number one company would be The Australian Ballet because that’s who I’ve grown up watching, but I also really love Dutch National and Ballet de Barcelona
Q8: Do you have a favourite memory/moment in ballet?
My favourite ballet moment would have to be when I was selected to dance in the Sydney Eisteddfod finals at the Sydney Opera house. That was one of the most exciting places I’ve ever performed.
Q9: Who are your ballet roles models? Dancers that inspire you.
My #1 ballet inspiration is Marianela Nunez! She has flawless technique and such incredible stage presence, she’s one of a kind.
Q10: Best advice you’ve ever received from a teacher?
The best advice I’ve ever received from a teacher was to never settle. Never think you’re always good enough, there’s always more to learn, something new to try, something more to improve
Q11: Advise you’d give a young version of yourself?
I’d tell my younger self not to be afraid to experiment more with my dance style. Take inspiration from not only professional dancers, but also your classmates, and try to incorporate others style into your own.
Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?
The best thing about being a ballerina is that I get to do what I love all day everyday! And as I said before, there’s always something new to discover in yourself
Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?
The hardest thing about being a ballet dancer would be dealing with traditionalists. Ballet is still very old fashioned and there are so many stereotypes that we expect ourselves to fit. Ballet is evolving to suit the modern world, but there are still so many unreasonable and old fashioned values that are much too discriminatory
Q14: It seems like such hard work, did you ever have days growing up where you were like “ugh maybe I’ll just pick an easier career so I can be like a normal teenager”?
Yea I’ve definitely had those thoughts, but ultimately I know that it all worth the hard work for me. Even adds to it, because it makes the goal so much more exciting!
Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?
Classical tutu! I love the traditional Russian look 🙂
Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?
The worst injury I’ve had was an impingement in my left ankle. It took me out for about 6 months and wow that was very hard to deal with. I remember feeling extremely low and flat because I couldn’t do what I loved, and it took a while before we saw any noticeable improvements. But once it was starting to recover, I found my passion again.
Q17: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?
Ahaha I think I better question is what don’t I do 😂. I love cooking, playing various musical instruments, writing, drawing, learning Spanish (on duolingo), reading, Netflix of course, walks/hikes, bike rides, yoga. I have tons of hobbies! I think it’s really inept isn’t to fill your life with things outside of ballet, because a balanced life will give you a balanced mind, and a balanced mind means you’ll be able to dance your absolute best as often as possible!