I had the chance recently to ask Olivia Sacchetillo some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Olivia is a fantastic dancer, she takes to 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 at the age of 7
Q2: Where do you currently dance?
I dance in the Professional Training Program at Cary Ballet Conservatory
Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?
I began pointe work at 9 years old so 4 years now
Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?
I wear Nikolay Dreampointe and Nova pointe shoes
Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?
I got involved with ballet after watching my first ballet on stage. I absolutely fell in love with the art of dance, and I knew this is what I wanted to do as a career.
Q6: What is your favourite variation?
I have so many favorite classical and neo-classical variations that I love. The Odette variation from Swan Lake is definitely one of my favorites. Odette is such an emotional character and portraying that character requires such depth and feeling. I would love to dance a role with such challenging artistic and emotional qualities. This variation is also so graceful and beautiful to watch
Q7: What company would you love to work for?
There are so many amazing ballet companies in the world, and I would be honored to be asked to dance in one of them! There are so many things to take into consideration when joining a company. If an opportunity comes along, I will have to take every aspect of the company (repertoire, method, location, etc.) and my abilities into account, both artistically and technically, to decide if it is a good fit for me. One of my dream companies is Miami City Ballet because I love the Balanchine method and their repertoire…and of course it’s in Florida.
Q8: Do you have a favourite memory/moment in ballet?
I have so many wonderful dance memories. Every moment of dancing on stage is one of my favorites. I love the feeling of being onstage; I love that I can express myself through the music and the dance. It’s like nothing else matters or exists while I’m on stage…it feels amazing! One of my favorite memories is when I performed the role of Clara last year in the Nutcracker. I truly loved every moment of dancing and acting this role. I also love being backstage during performance warmups and preparations…just being in the theater with the added excitement of everyone getting ready and being with friends makes it all the more amazing!
Q9: Who are your ballet roles models? Dancers that inspire you.
Many ballet dancers inspire me. My role models range from student to principal dancer. Some of them include Yana Cherepanova, Ava Arbuckle, Remie Goins, Arianna Crosato Neumann, Reynu Wood, Andrea Huynh, Maddie Goodman, Skylar Brandt, Maria Khoreva, Iana Salenko, Kathryn Morgan, and Tiler Peck
Q10: Best advice you’ve ever received from a teacher?
I’ve gotten a lot of good advice over these years of dancing…but the most important for me was when a teacher told me that being hypermobile and having great flexibility are fantastic; however, it’s having the strength and stamina to do ballet that is more important than anything else
Q11: Advise you’d give a young version of yourself?
A few things that I’d tell my younger self are: always give my all in everything; don’t worry so much about being perfect; don’t worry about doing everything right the very first time because it will all come together in the end; apply all corrections given in class even if they’re not directed towards me; smile and breathe because no matter what happens, life keeps going
Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?
The best thing about being a ballerina is having the ability to do what I love every day and getting to share my passion and drive with others
Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?
The hardest thing about being a ballerina for me is the competition between dancers. There are so many beautiful ballerinas out there and we’re all working toward the same goal. We should try to support and encourage each other. I know it is sometimes difficult to not compare your journey to another dancer’s, but everyone is different and we are all on the journey to try to achieve the same goal
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”?
Honestly, I have never really wanted to give up dance. Dance is my passion, and I love every aspect of it. I love dancing all day and rehearsing for performances and competitions
Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?
I love both classical and romantic tutus
Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?
I have thankfully never had an injury. I am very careful with my body. If something is bothering me, I try to deal with it immediately as to not let it get worse. I try to listen to my body, so that I’ll be able to dance without injury…which I hope will allow me a long dance career
Q17: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?
Outside of dance, I enjoy reading a good book, baking muffins, learning about the history of ballet, watching classical and neo-classical ballets, listening to music, hanging out with friends and family, and playing with my two cats.