Month: December 2020

Q&A With American Ballerina Sarah D’Angelo

I had the chance recently to ask Sarah D’Angelo some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Sarah is an amazing dancer, she takes to the stage with incredible poise and elegance. Her love for ballet is amazing. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was 9 years old

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently dance at The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been en pointe for about 4 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear the Russian Pointe Muse pointe shoe

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

A couple of my friends did ballet so I thought I’d give it a try

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favorite variation is definitely Aurora Act III

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to work for Pennsylvania Ballet in the future

Q8: Do you have a favourite memory/moment in ballet?

My favorite memory is one that started my love for ballet: After my first ballet class ever at the age of 9, my teacher had asked me if I had taken any ballet classes before that, because she saw a talent in me. I think about it all the time and it boosts my passion!

Q9: Who are your ballet roles models? Dancers that inspire you.

My ballet role models are Marianela Núñez and Skylar Brandt.

Q10: Best advice you’ve ever received from a teacher?

One of my teacher gives the best advice, and she recently told us, “Always appreciate the times you have access to in person classes. Work your hardest, because with this pandemic, you never know when that can be taken away from you.”

Q11: Advise you’d give a young version of yourself?

. Advice I would give my younger self is be patient, work hard, and trust that it will pay off!

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

The best thing about being a ballerina is the feeling you get while you’re dancing and working hard. It gives me so much joy to move the way us dancers do

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

The hardest thing about being a ballerina is definitely comparison. I try my hardest not to compare myself to the other dancers but it’s very hard. At the end of the day, everybody is on their own path and everything happens for a reason 🙂

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 have so many days where I want to try to find an easier path, but those days are the ones I need to prove to myself that it is possible for me to do anything I work hard for.

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical tutu all the way!

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

I am lucky to not have suffered any serious injuries

Q17: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?

In my free time I absolutely love to write. It’s one of the only other things besides ballet that I do a lot.

Q&A With British Contortionist Arianna Joy

I had the joy of asking the incredible British contortionist Arianna Joy some questions about her journey as one of the best new contortionists. Arianna is an amazing contortionist and when she takes to the stage and performs and showcases her astounding skills, she leaves the audience in awe and mesmerized by what the human body can do. The joy she has on her face when performing is infectious and her smile brings happiness to many. Arianna trains under the guidance of renowned British contortionist coach Pixie Le Knot. Below are her responses.

https://www.instagram.com/ariajoy_contortion/

Q1: How long have done contortion for?

5 months

Q2: How did you start contortion?

Did dance, kept stretching and thought, wanted more. Then found classes and was invited to join.

Q3: How often do you train and for how long?

Train every day for 3 hrs.

Q4: What is your favourite contortion move/trick?

Cheststands of every shape.

Q5: What has been your best contortion experience?

Doing handstands on canes for the first time.

Q6: What is your ultimate contortion goal/dream?

My goal/dream – to be a contortion performer.

Q7: Best advise you’ve received?

Advise – to position my arms in the right place for certain tricks.

Q8: What does a usual day of training look like?

Warm-up, stretches, splits, shoulder stretch, bridges, tricks, sequences, routine.

Q9: What is your preparation for a performance?

A VERY good stretch!

Q10: What or who is your biggest motivator in contortion?

Pixie Le Knot.

Q11: What goes through your head when you’re doing a contortion performance?

Concentrating on the routine.

Q12: Do you get nervous? How do you overcome your nerves?

I don’t really get nervous.😊

Q&A With Russian Contortionist Anya Isaeva

I had the joy of asking the incredible Russian contortionist Anya Isaeva some questions about her journey as a contortionists/hand balancer. Anya is an amazing contortionist/hand balancer and when she takes to the stage and performs and showcases her astounding skills, she leaves the audience in awe and mesmerized by what the human body can do. She is currently in Taiwan performing at Lihpao Land amusement park. Below are her responses.

(Translated using Google Translate)

Q1: How long have done contortion for?

From the age of 10

Q2: How did you start contortion?

Parents brought them to the circus studio and then there was a desire to study

Q3: How often do you train and for how long?

Now I’m on a contract, I train and perform every day. Training usually lasts more than 3 hours

Q4: What is your favourite contortion move/trick?

One-arm stand

Q5: What has been your best contortion experience?

Performances

Q6: What is your ultimate contortion goal/dream?

Perform in the Cirque Du Soleil and other venues in different circuses

Q7: Best advise you’ve received?

Train more and improve myself

Q8: What does a usual day of training look like?

Warm-up, tricks, pumping up

Q9: What is your preparation for a performance?

Stretching, run of number

Q10: What or who is your biggest motivator in contortion?

Future prospects

Q11: What goes through your head when you’re doing a contortion performance?

I think about the number and about the audience

Q12: Do you get nervous? How do you overcome your nerves?

I am nervous, I try to enjoy the performance and make the number good

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Klara-Viktoria Solomon

I had the chance recently to ask Klara-Viktoria Solomon some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Klara-Viktoria is an amazing 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 about 18 months but it wasn’t really true dancing it was more running around the room with ribbons, so I started proper dancing when I was 5

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I am currently training full-time at alegria dance studios

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been on pointe for about 4 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear merlet in the style cloe

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My mum enrolled me into a creative ballet/dance class when I was young

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favourite variation is probably Esmarelda or Black Swan

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I’d love to work for the Netherlands Dance Theatre, Sydney Dance Company, the Royal Ballet or the Paris Opera Ballet

Q8: Do you have a favourite memory/moment in ballet?

I think my favourite would have to be in New York at the Bolshoi Ballet summer intensive. I loved everything about it

Q9: Who are your ballet roles models? Dancers that inspire you.

Marianela Nunez, Yasmin Naghdi, Ako Kondo and Fumi Kaneko all inspire me a lot

Q10: Best advice you’ve ever received from a teacher?

There’s not one thing a teacher has told me that I hold to be the best thing a teacher has said. I think that a teachers gifts come with their corrections and that is one of the most special thing dancers can be told

Q11: Advise you’d give a young version of yourself?

Go into the room for yourself, there’s no need to have to feel you need to impress anyone but you

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

Ballet provides me the ability to express my emotions step away from the outside world

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

The hardest thing about being a ballet dancer is the struggles of mental health

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 had multiple times when I was little where I wanted to quit ballet because I just didn’t like it, I thought it was incredibly boring. But of course now I have some days where I think it’s not worth it because I am such a perfectionist and there’s never perfection on ballet

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical tutu

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

I’ve never really suffered from a serious injury. The most severe was probably when I was in a boot for 4 weeks after I fractured my foot earlier this year

Q17: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?

I love to hang out with my friends, I think it’s really important especially after being so caught up in dancing it’s necessary to have a social life

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Amara Weaver

I had the chance recently to ask Amara Weaver some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Amara is an amazing dancer, she graces the stage with incredible poise and grace. Her love for ballet is incredible Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started when I was 9

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

The Queensland National Ballet school

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

Two years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

Grishko 2007

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My mum introduced me to dance when I was little

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

Cupid

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

San Francisco ballet

Q8: Do you have a favourite memory/moment in ballet?

Queensland National Ballet School’s performance of the nutcracker 2019

Q9: Who are your ballet roles models? Dancers that inspire you.

Queensland Ballet ( Li Cunxin) and Dancers with Dogs

Q10: Best advice you’ve ever received from a teacher?

Dancers don’t forget, we are all training to be clean technical dancers but you need to be able to work with others and practice this

Q11: Advise you’d give a young version of yourself?

Keep working hard, setting new goals and always be great full for the small wins

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

There are lots of amazing things about being a ballerina but my favourite thing is being able to dance on pointe and making it look effortless

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

The repetition, hard work and all the hours in the studio

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”?

Yes absolutely

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Romantic tutu

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

Thankfully no I have not

Q17: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?

Catching up with friends, practicing makeup, shopping and lots more

Q&A With Ukrainian Contortionist Emilia Suslovets

I had the joy of asking the incredible Ukrainian contortionist Emilia Suslovets some questions about her journey as one of the best new contortionists. Emilia is an amazing contortionist and when she takes to the stage and performs and showcases her astounding skills, she leaves the audience in awe and mesmerized by what the human body can do. The joy she has on her face when performing is infectious and her smile brings happiness to many. Emilia trains under the guidance of her mother, renowned Ukrainian contortionist coach Tatiana Kuznetsova. Below are her responses.

(Translated using Google Translate)

Q1: How long have done contortion for?

3 years ago.

Q2: How did you start contortion?

According to mom’s advice.

Q3: How often do you train and for how long?

3 times a week

Q4: What is your favourite contortion move/trick?

Triple fold

Q5: What has been your best contortion experience?

When I performed on the table.

Q6: What is your ultimate contortion goal/dream?

Become the most flexible

Q7: Best advise you’ve received?

Mom said that you need to study so as to be a professional

Q8: What does a usual day of training look like?

My workout starts from 12 to 6 from the beginning of stretching, then an equilibrium break for lunch again stretching, warm-up of the back, the robot over the number, pumping, webs.

Q9: What is your preparation for a performance?

I get my hair done and I warm up.

Q10: What or who is your biggest motivator in contortion?

Mongolians.

Q11: What goes through your head when you’re doing a contortion performance?

I am thinking about pulling my feet and knees.

Q12: Do you get nervous? How do you overcome your nerves?

I’m not nervous

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Q&A With American Ballerina Dru Oetjen

I had the chance recently to ask Dru Oetjen some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Dru is an excellent 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 dancing 10 years ago when I was 3 years old

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I dance at Orlando Ballet School

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been on pointe for about 3 1/2 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I’m currently wearing Freed studio pro

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My big sister started Ballet and as I watched her dance I started to fall in love with Ballet

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I don’t have a favorite but one of my favorites is Medora

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to work with Pacific Northwest Ballet

Q8: Do you have a favourite memory/moment in ballet?

My favorite moment in Ballet is just being onstage dancing

Q9: Who are your ballet roles models? Dancers that inspire you.

My favorite dancers are @avaarbuckle @remiegoins and many more!

Q10: Best advice you’ve ever received from a teacher?

The best advice I have received from a teacher is to not care what anybody thinks just to dance with your heart

Q11: Advise you’d give a young version of yourself?

Advice to give my younger self is to really take advantage of your teachers corrections, advice, etc

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

The best thing about being a ballerina is the beautiful costumes, and dancing with your friends

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

Consistency with in classes for me and also blisters big time😂

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”?

Yes I think about it all the time but I just have to realize why I love Ballet and why I started

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical tutu for sure but romantic tutus are so beautiful

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

I have never suffered a serious injury yet and I’m very lucky

Q17: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?

I love running, going in the pool and would also love to try modeling.💖

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Taliya Bennett

I had the opportunity recently to ask Taliya Bennett some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Taliya is a phenomenal dancer, she graces the stage with incredible elegance and poise. Her love for ballet is amazing. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet at 6 years old

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently dance in Sydney, Australia at classical ballet 121

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I started pointe at 11 and am now 16 so about 5 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear energetics pointe shoes, (otherwise known as Russian pointes)

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

Some of my friends were taking classes and I really wanted to as well, I was a very quiet and shy child so I loved ballet because I didn’t have to speak to anyone and just focus on doing everything correctly

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favourite variation would have to be either sugar plum fairy or Raymonda

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to work for Staataballett Berlin, English National Ballet or the Royal Ballet

Q8: Do you have a favourite memory/moment in ballet?

One of my favourite memories was learning the sugar plum fairy 3 weeks before performing and getting on stage doing my absolute best

Q9: Who are your ballet roles models? Dancers that inspire you.

My first ballet role model was Benedict Bemet from the Australian ballet, I remember going to watch them perform and being so mesmerised by her face and how she presented herself

Q10: Best advice you’ve ever received from a teacher?

That not all of dancing is about how well you perform physically and that so much of it is your mental state

Q11: Advise you’d give a young version of yourself?

Not to worry about what other people think of you, to come out of my shell and just dance because I love it

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

I love how challenging ballet is, that you could have always done something better and that how much you improve is a direct reflection on how hard you have worked

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

Not getting caught up in worrying about the future, being a perfectionist can also sometimes be challenging as you never feel that you did something well enough

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”?

No, sure it does get hard sometimes but I wouldn’t want to do anything else

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

I love both but romantic tutus look beautiful when they move around with your body

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

I am actually recovering from an injury right now, the muscles around my shins are very inflamed and I do have a little bone stress down the front of my shins

Q17: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?

I love to go for bush walks, go swimming or listen to music…I probably spend most of my free time on Spotify.

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Trinity Andaloro

I had the chance recently to ask Trinity Andaloro some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Trinity is a fantastic dancer, she takes to the stage with incredible poise and elegance. Her love for ballet is amazing. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I was 5 years old when I started ballet.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently dance at Queensland National Ballet

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been on pointe for 4 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear Grishko 2007s

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I first got involved in ballet because I was always a very energetic kid and mum put in ballet class and I loved it

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favourite variation is Kitri act III

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to work for a contemporary company, Sydney dace company

Q8: Do you have a favourite memory/moment in ballet?

My favourite memory was my first pointe class

Q9: Who are your ballet roles models? Dancers that inspire you.

My ballet role model is Misty Copeland

Q10: Best advice you’ve ever received from a teacher?

My best advice i have ever received is ‘dance for yourself and no one else, don’t compare yourself’

Q11: Advise you’d give a young version of yourself?

‘Don’t be to fixated on things you cant change’

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

Getting to do what you love everyday and learning new things everyday

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

The hardest thing is working hard and feeling like you have gotten nothing from it even though you have

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”?

Absolutely yes, but I kept going and I’m so glad I did

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical tutu

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

I have, when I was 13 I had a stress fracture in my second metatarsal in my growth plate and I was in a boot for 4 months

Q17: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?

I am ALWAYS dancing but when I’m not I’m usually with my friends or family or shopping

Q&A With American Ballerina Emma Garrison

I had the opportunity recently to ask Emma Garrison some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Emma is an excellent dancer, she graces the stage with incredible poise and grace, her love ballet is amazing. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was 3, but didn’t start training pre-professionally until I was about 12 years old

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I’m a member of the Junior Ballett with Ballett Dortmund in Germany

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I started dancing en pointe when I was 9 years old, so it has been 10 years since I slipped on the first pair.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear customized Freed Classics made by the wonderful wineglass maker, who I have been wearing for years

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

Ever since I was little, I have wanted to be a dancer. “Ballet” was actually my second word I ever spoke, and since I learned it I didn’t stop asking to take classes until the dance teacher at my local studio finally let me start. My sisters took classes, and I’m sure seeing the pink tutus and ballet slippers is what started my obsession

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

This is a hard one, as there are so many I love to dance, but if I had to choose one I would say the 4th variation from Divertimento No. 15 by George Balanchine. I love the the way the movement feels in my body, and the energy from the music makes it an especially joyous variation to dance. Plus, it was the variation I chose to film for my auditions, and the one that got me my first job!

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

My dream at the moment is to dance for the Vienna State Ballet. I admire so many dancers from the company, and the repertoire is exactly in line with what I’d like to be dancing throughout my career. They have a wonderful mix of classical and neoclassical, as well as contemporary, and living in Vienna doesn’t sound half bad either

Q8: Do you have a favourite memory/moment in ballet?

My favorite memory so far was my first show of Nutcracker with Miami City Ballet. I had worked very hard from the previous year to get the opportunity to perform with the company, and was especially excited because I was performing snow, flowers, and Spanish on opening night. I remember being backstage and having to hold back tears because all my hard work had paid off, and I was going to spend my favorite holiday season dancing away and bringing joy to so many.

Q9: Who are your ballet roles models? Dancers that inspire you.

Marianela Nuñez is my ultimate ballet inspiration. Her dynamic yet graceful movement is something I aspire to, and I can’t help but get lost in the story when she is the one telling it. She is one of the few dancers I can watch without thinking about her technique or the choreography she is doing, and just fully enjoy watching

Q10: Best advice you’ve ever received from a teacher?

The best advice I ever received was from a teacher at Miami City Ballet School by the name of Francis Veyette. One of his lessons he taught us was to never play the victim status. You are in control of your body, your emotions, and your reactions, and to think otherwise is to do oneself an injustice

Q11: Advise you’d give a young version of yourself?

I would tell myself, and all young dancers, to start dancing for yourself, and only yourself, each and everyday. As you get older and attention from teachers starts to oscillate, it is most important to enjoy the work itself, not just the reaction from the teacher it may or may not incite. This also allows you to separate yourself from corrections. Now I only think if a class, audition, rehearsal, or performance was good enough for myself, not the teacher or director, or whomever may be at the front of the room. If you hold yourself to your own standards, you will never feel unfulfilled

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

The best thing about being a ballerina is, quite simply, being a ballerina. I love absolutely everything about it, from doing my hair, to the first step at barre, to performing on stage. I love the community that surrounds me each and everyday, and the common struggles we all face that we can help one another through. To be able to say I am a ballerina brings me joy like nothing else can

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

The hardest thing about being a dancer is doing the work on the days when you’d rather stay in bed. I don’t mean when you’re sick, or injured, or there’s something preventing you from taking class, but the days where it’s rainy and your back hurts and you just want to stay under the sheets and watch movies all day. Though its always the most difficult to get up and moving on days like this, I find them to be the most rewarding days, where I am truly proud of myself for accomplishing the work despite my reluctance. I always say that one’s strength is measured by what they are able to accomplish when they aren’t feeling up to the task

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”?

Of course I did! However, for me it was never the work that intimidated me. I have always craved hard work, it’s in my nature. The difficulty was choosing between a normal life, and the one I was pursuing. I wanted to go to class, have boyfriends, go to dances and sleepovers and parties; with a pre-professional schedule, this was impossible. I have always been a very social person, and extremely passionate about learning and discussion, so choosing between what I wanted to do and what I was meant to do was the most emotionally straining part of my life. For any young dancers going through this, just know that it’s absolutely normal and even healthy to question your convictions, and to trust that in the end you will do what is best for yourself.

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

I love a classical tutu, but not the big huge pancake tutus one might see in Don Quixote or Swan Lake – I prefer shorter tutus commonly referred to as “bell tutus.”

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

I have had several serious injuries that have put me out for weeks at a time, but the hardest and most serious one was a major hip repair surgery I had when I was 16. The surgeon told my mom I was never going to dance again, but instead of telling me that which would have ruined my determined mindset, she kept it from me and sent me to intensive physical therapy, and here I am now more flexible, with no pain, and a wonderful career ahead of me!

Q17: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?

In my free time I do university classes with Indiana University, because as I mentioned before I am an avid learner. I am a self-proclaimed yogi and practice yoga 2-3 times a week for my mind and body, and I love to read, cook, and indulge in some TV when I’m too tired to do anything except lay on the couch. I also have a wonderful group of friends with me here in Germany, and of course I spend as much time with them as I can in between everything. Travel is another thing I love to do, and luckily here in Europe, so many wonderful places and experiences are only a train ride away.