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Q&A With American Ballerina Kye Amir Cooley

I had the opportunity recently to ask Kye Amir Cooley some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Kye is an excellent dancer, she graces the stage with poise, elegance and presence. Her love for ballet is incredible. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was 3 years old.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently dance at The School of American ballet (SAB)

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been on pointe for 10 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear Freed if London pointe shoes

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My mother used to be a dancer so for her birthday every year she would take me to the ballet. It made me fall in love with the stage.

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

That’s a hard question. I personally love any variation I have opportunity to learn and even more perform. I enjoy any time I get to watch a Balanchine or Classical variation

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to dance for New York City Ballet

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

My favourite memories are the times I spend in the studios working with my teachers and friends.

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

Sara Mearns, Marianela Nunez and Natalia Osipova

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

There is no time for timid dancing.

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

Don’t take everything so seriously, flow with what’s happening now.

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

Performing and taking on many different characters is my favourite part.

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

Relaxing. Once I’m in the zone, it’s hard for me to take days off. I just want to keep going, keep learning.

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. I think it’s all about finding what you like to do and switching it up every now and then. I really love ballet, but I also like other styles of dance. On days when I feel down on myself I like to take a class in a different style or do something fun like watching movies.

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

I really like tutus, but romantic skirts are easier to travel with.

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

Thankfully no,

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

I really love watching movie. I’m also into photography and editing, and I like making up conspiracies about the universe and other things.

Q&A With Canadian Ballerina Ella Cowan

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started taking ballet seriously when I was 8

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

Currently I am training by taking masterclasses and drop ins at different studios because of the busy schedule I have as I am also pursuing the career of an actress. This enables me to dance on a more flexible schedule and have the ability to work with different teachers and choreographers

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been en pointe for 4 and a half years now

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear Grishko Miracle Pointe Shoes. They are such a beautiful and comfy shoe and perfect for me!

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My mom was a ballet teacher when I was younger and I loved going to the studio with her and taking classes and I just fell in love with it!

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I love the Sugar Plum Fairy variation from The Nutcracker!

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I think it would be so cool to dance with the New York City Ballet!

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

Yes! My favourite memory is dancing Young Clara in the Nutcracker with Hamilton City Ballet and receiving Distinction on my Intermediate RAD ballet exam!

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

Misty Copeland and Tanya Howard are two ballerinas that really inspire me!

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

Some of the best advice I’ve been told is to find what makes me special in my dancing that lets me stand out and be able to shine

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

I would say to my younger self, don’t ever let others make you feel invisible or inferior and be confident in yourself

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

The best thing about being a ballerina is how it helps you be strong and determined in other areas of your life

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

I can’t really think of anything that is hard about being a ballerina except for when people underestimate how strong we actually are and how much hard work we put into it

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, I’ve never thought of doing something easier because I love having something that keeps me focused and challenged

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical tutus

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

No, I’ve been lucky enough not to have any injuries so far

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

I love acting and reading scripts and novels in my spare time!

Q&A With American Ballerina Sofia Ferrigno

I had the opportunity recently to ask Sofia Ferrigno some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Sofia is a fantastic dancer, she graces the stage with elegance and grace. Her love for ballet is phenomenal. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started dancing at 5 1/2

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I dance virtually right now and I’m not in any particular studio

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been on pointe for 3 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear Nikolay Maya1 pointe shoes

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

When I was 5 1/2 my sister noticed how flexible my feet were and how I could pointe my toes do she told my mom that she should bring me to ballet classes. I went to a small group class and after a few lessons the teacher asked to speak with my mom. She told her that I had really good feet and that I should be in a serious ballet school not just recreational classes.

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

Right now, Aurora Wedding Variation, but it changes all the time

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

Mariinsky Theater because my teacher danced there

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

It would have to be my first Nutcracker! Being in the theater performing on the stage was just magical

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

There are so many, but just to name a few,Maria Khoreva, Marlén Fuerte, Adiarys Almeida, Sylvie Guillem , Maya Plisetskya

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

Perform in each ballet class as if you were in front of an audience

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

Never compare your progress to anyone else’s progress

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

Learning how to focus and be disciplined. Being able to perform and bring a character to life and hopefully make the audience happy

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

Sore feet! And learning to trust yourself. Sometimes I’ll get on stage and for a second I won’t remember my variation! But as soon as the music starts my body remembers the movements

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’m only 12 so I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything yet. But I know this is what I want to do

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

Thankfully no. I definitely cross train to keep my body strong and hopefully prevent injuries

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

I like to draw, read and play video games with my friends.

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.💖