I had the opportunity recently to ask Emma Cilke some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Emma is a phenomenal dancer, she graces the stage with poise and grace, her love for ballet is incredible. Below are her responses.
Q1: When did you start ballet?
I started ballet when I was three years old
Q2: Where do you currently dance?
I dance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts HS Ballet Program
Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?
I’ve been en pointe for about five years
Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?
I wear the Wineglass Maker Freeds!
Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?
I was a late-walker when I was younger so my parents decided to put me in ballet classes hoping to improve my motive skills haha!
Q6: What is your favourite variation?
My favorite variation is Kitri Act III or the Black Swan variation.
Q7: What company would you love to work for?
I would love to work for American Ballet Theatre or Boston Ballet!
Q8: Do you have a favourite memory/moment in ballet?
I enjoy every moment on stage and I can’t wait till I’m performing for live audiences again!
Q9: Who are your ballet roles models? Dancers that inspire you.
Marianela Núñez and Misa Kuranaga are two of my biggest inspirations!
Q10: Best advice you’ve ever received from a teacher?
I’ve received so many beneficial corrections from all of teachers but the top one would be to not internalize all of my work, but to instead perform out to the audience. After all, it is a performing art!
Q11: Advise you’d give a young version of yourself?
As cliche as it sounds, it’s so important to realize early on that everyone has a different path. Focus on yourself and focus only on the work YOU’RE putting in
Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?
The constant strive, never ending work, and performances are the best parts about being a ballerina. Also the work ethic that is taught from a young age has helped me grow into a better person in all aspects of my life!
Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?
The constant critiques and nitpicking can be exhausting and frustrating but it’s all worth it in the end.
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”?
I certainly have my bad days just like any other human being. It’s important to accept where you are THAT day, even if it’s not quite where you were yesterday. It’s not always constant growth but it’s important that you’re always unfolding at an authentic pace for yourself.
Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?
Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?
Not yet (knock on wood)!
Q17: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?
I love to spend time with my family and friends as well as trying new things like shops, restaurants, books, and shows!