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Q&A With American Ballerina Sofia Angelov

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was 2 ½ years old in a Mommy and Me class. I started taking it seriously about 2 years ago when I started competing in ballet competitions at age 10

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I dance with the Amirian Ballet Academy in Los Angeles, and I also train with my father

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been en pointe for 2 years – I began when I was 10 years old

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear Rubins – Russian Pointe and love them!

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

Both my parents wanted me in ballet – my father was an artiste and a former ballet dancer and my mom just wanted me to wear a pretty pink tutu

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favorite variation is from the ballet Raymonda, Act 1 (the scarf variation)

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

My dream companies are the Bolshoi Ballet theater, The Mariinsky Ballet, the Royal Ballet and The Paris Grand Opera

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

My favorite moment in ballet is whenever I am onstage and we all bow to the audience and all the hard work is rewarded

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

My ballet role models are Marianela Nuñez, Olga Smirnova, Svetlana Zakharova, , Maria Khoreva, May Nagahisa

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

The best advice I received would be from my father who said “make sure you practice correctly”

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

Don’t be lazy, put work into your goals. It is important not to learn bad habits

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

Best thing about being a ballerina is the reward being able to entertain and delight the audience doing what you love to do

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

Hardest thing about being a ballerina would be the amount of work you need to do to make sure one tiny thing is correct

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”?

Sure, I have had moments when it was hard and I thought maybe it would be easier if I didn’t love ballet.  I always second guess myself when I see someone do it perfectly and I may be struggling (at that moment) But I do love ballet so the hard work is always worth it.

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

Not a serious injury, minor ones, and I know I have to be careful with my knees to avoid a serious injury in the future

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

Ha! Free time? What would that be? My passion is art so if I do have a moment I like to paint, listen to music and make up my own

Q&A With American Ballerina Ariel Daley

I had the chance recently to ask Ariel Daley some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Ariel is an excellent dancer. She takes to the stage with poise and grace. Her love for ballet is amazing. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

Five years old

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

Accademia Teatro Alla Scala (La Scala Ballet School)

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

8 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

Grishko 2007s

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My mom put me in ballet classes so that I would develop good posture and flexibility

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

That I’ve danced so far: Awakening of Flora, In general: variation from the Tchaikovsky Pas de duex

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

There are too many amazing companies to choose just one

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

Prix de Lausanne for sure!

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

Alina Cojocaru, Skylar Brandt, Maria Khoreva, May Nagahisa

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

Sorry can’t think of any

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

Hard work pays off – don’t give up!!

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

Dancing on stage

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

The intensity of the training

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”?

 Around this time last year I was really considering giving up my dream, it just seemed unrealistic at the time. But I am very glad that I kept going

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical tutu!

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

Luckily I haven’t yet! Knock on wood!

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

In my free time I guess I’d say I am basically a normal teenager – I watch tiktoks, I love shopping, I love hanging out with my friends, and I looooveee eating ❤️❤️

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Tess Zahner

I had the chance recently to ask Tess Zahner some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Tess is a fantastic 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 ballet when I was 3 years old and have loved it ever since

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently dance at Queensland National Ballet School

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been on pointe for 6 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

The pointe shoes I currently wear are Grishko Nova’s

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My mum took me to Bondi pavilion when I was 3 to little fairy’s

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favourite variation is Generosity (breadcrumb) fairy from sleeping beauty

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to work for the Australian Ballet company or English National Ballet

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

My favourite memory/moment in ballet was when I got giving the opportunity to play John in a performance of Peter Pan

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

Dancers that inspire me are Misty Copeland, Marianela Nunez and Maria Khoreva

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

The best advice I have ever received from a teacher was to always give 110% in everything you do.

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

The advise I would give to my younger self is to never give up, always try your best and stay try to yourself

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

The best thing about being a ballerina is being about to express your through movement

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

Probably the hardest thing about ballerina is to not compare yourself you others and to remember that we are all individual with different talents.

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”?

You have good days and bad days some are worse then others, but ballet is my passion and I would not change it for the world

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical tutu

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

I have not suffered any serious injury during my journey so far

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

I enjoy hanging out with friends, taking my dog for long walks and cooking.

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Isabella Smith

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

https://www.communitynews.com.au/western-suburbs-weekly/news/subiaco-trained-ballet-dancer-with-pointe-to-prove/

Q1: When did you start ballet?

7 years old

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

The graduate collage of dance Perth WA

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

3 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

Bloch European stretch split sole

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My mum was a ballet dancer

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

Too many good ones, but I love kitri, coppelia and 3rd shade variation

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to work at the Paris Opera Ballet or the Royal Ballet

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

Dancing at the Prix de Lausanne

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

Marianela Nunez

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

Never let someone else dull your shine ✨

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

Don’t be too hard on yourself there will be plenty of time for that later

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

The stage performances

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

The physical effort, everyday

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”?

100% I still have those bad days but it’s so important to remember why you love it so much, and at the end of the day if your happy or can still find that love on your worst day then you are in the right career, you know 😂

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

No not really

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

Hang with friends, skateboard or watch Netflix 🙊

Q&A With British Ballerina Hannah Pearce

I had the chance recently to ask Hannah Pearce some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Hannah is an excellent 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?

When I was 2

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

Tring Park school for the Performing Arts

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

6 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

Bloch serenade

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

Went to classes as a child at school

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

Aroura Act 3

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to work with Ballet Cymru

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

Getting to perform on stage with my friends

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

Yasmine Naghdi, Clare Calvert and Skylar Brant are huge inspiration to me!

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

Don’t take anything personally

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

Just go for it! You’ll be fine

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

Getting to do what you love everyday and seeing hard work pay off

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

Doing classes and rehearsal when you’re exhausted

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”?

 Defiantly! But then I can never find anything else I would be willing to work for 😂

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

I have torn ligaments in my left ankle three times!

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

I love cooking and reading!

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Sam Merrick

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started dance at age 3 but full time ballet at age 15

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

At the Australian ballet school

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

8 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear the Australian ballet companies left over shoes that Lana Jones that she used to wear. The brand in Bloch

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I auditioned for the ITP program with the ABS when I was around 10

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I have many but I love to dance la bayadere first shade

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to work for the Australian ballet company or the American ballet theatre

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

My favourites are the ones performing on stage

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

Skylar Brandt and Yasmine Naghdi but especially the people who inspire me are all the dancers that surround at ballet

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

“The in between steps are the most beautiful and hardest parts of ballet”

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

To understand that everything happens for a reason. I wouldn’t give myself any serious advice as I don’t regret or would want to change anything in the past

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

Just dancing everyday as it’s something I love but the atmosphere that surrounds me and the outcomes that come with it.

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

Especially the intensity of work that comes with it but probably trying to keep a good mindset

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’ve never had seconds thoughts on ballet but I have had my ups and downs and days when I don’t feel like doing it or loving it as much

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Definitely classical

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

I’ve had small injuries in the past but I have grown up a two extra bone since my right foot which causes pain for me when I dance. After being in the ABS for nearly five years and having some niggles In that ankle, now the pain in my ankle has finally gone overtime due to strengthening and rest

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

Spend Loads of time with my friends or exploring the parts of the city I live in. I enjoy painting in my free time as it’s very therapeutic to me.

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Georgia Willshire

I had the chance recently to ask Georgia Willshire some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Georgia is an excellent dancer, she graces the stage with elegance and beauty. Her love for ballet is amazing. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

When I was 2 years old

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

Kim Harvey School of Dance in Canberra

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

Almost 2 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear Bloch Synthesis

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My parents enrolled me

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

Esmerelda

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

Royal Ballet

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

Getting my award into an Intensive course of my choice from the Royal Ballet

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

Claudia Dean and Marianela Nunez

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

Dance schools look for potential not show offs

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

Hard work beats talent

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

Everything !

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

The competitive aspect of dance

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. Ballet is extremely hard and very easy to just ‘give up’ but with a positive mindset, you can stay optimistic

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Both !

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

No fortunately

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

I like exercising and being outside. I also like spending time with my friends and family 🤍

Q&A With American Ballerina Ava Swiet

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started when I was two!

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I dance at Long Beach Ballet

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been en pointe for 3 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear Gaynor mindens

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

 went to watched the Long Beach Ballet Nutcracker when I was two and I fell in love and have been dancing at Long Beach Ballet ever since

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favorite variation is Paquita 2 which i will be performing at Youth American Grand Prix

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to go to Master Ballet Academy or ABT when I’m older

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

My favorite memory in ballet was performing my variation at YAGP for the first time

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

My ballet role model is definitely @ava_arbuckle because she is such an inspiration to me and she is a gorgeous dancer

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

The best inspiration I have been told by my coaches is to keep persevering because It’s going to be rough at times but you just have to keep going!

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

Advice I would give to my younger self is to not care what anyone thinks and do what makes you happy because there are always going to be people trying to bring you down but you but you have to brush it off and keep being your self

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

The best thing about being a ballerina is that it’s the only art for that you are dancing on your toes and I think it is so unique and cool

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

The hardest thing about being a ballerina (for me)is definitely dealing with my perfectionism because I want to do everything right but that not realistic

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”?

Everyone has days when they feel unmotivated but you have to remember what you are working for

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classic!

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

I dislocated my knee when I was 11

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

Stretching and swimming

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Maidie Widmer

I had the chance recently to ask Maidie Widmer some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Maidie is a phenomenal dancer, she takes to the stage with incredible poise and grace. Her love for ballet is incredible. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

When I was four

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

The Australian Ballet School

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I think I began around 10 or 11 so 9ish years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I have custom made shoes from Bloch

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My grandma was a ballet dancer so it was always been in my blood but as a very energetic young kid it seemed like the best option

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

Such such a hard question !! I love working on and dancing all the variations i’ve had the opportunity to have a go at, i love all the different styles in various variations ! A couple of my favourites though would have to be Raymonda Act 3, Raymonda Dream, Esmeralda, Paquita Principal and Auroras Wedding

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

Any company in the world would be a dream to dance with, simply having the opportunity to perform on stage is the dream. I’d be beyond thrilled to dance at The Australian Ballet, English National Ballet or The Royal Ballet (amongst many others)

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

Every moment I’ve ever stepped on stage, for me it’s just so special and in particular when i have someone special in the audience like a family member. Also just being able to spend that stage time with my friends and when you make eye contact on stage while both dancing with everything you’ve got

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

Growing up I looked up to the senior dancers of TAB as those were the first proper ballerinas i got to see on stage, dancers like Lana Jones and Madeline Eastoe. To me know every dancer is an inspiration, whether i’m watching them on YouTube, on stage or next to me in class, everyone is unique and brings something new to the table and there’s always something to learn and to be inspired from

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

I’ve had the opportunity to have incredible teachers and so many words of wisdom have stayed with me but if I had to single anything it it would be that it takes time to create yourself and the unique individuality of each dancer come from the discovery of what dancer you want to be, and that the best person to push yourself is yourself

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

Not to be too hard on myself and that these things take time. What will be will be and there are positives in every outcome if you look for them

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

Everything, in my opinion it has got to be one of the most rewarding, fulfilling and enriching career one can do The chance to move your body, creating beautiful shapes while also radiating emotion and taking an audience on a journey through intertwining your expression and movement, it’s the package deal !

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

The constant strive for the unattainable goal of perfection

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”?

There’s definitely days when it’s harder to self motivate but I wouldn’t give up this incredibly precious and rewarding life and career for anything else in the world. I think working through these harder phases in life really affirm ones love for the art form and their dedication to it, it has for me

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical, it’s so iconic

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

I had a stress reaction in my lower back in 2018

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

I love to read, walk, yoga, spend time outdoors and paint as well as spend time with my friends and family

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Lara Tessier

I had the chance recently to ask Lara Tessier some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Lara is an excellent dancer, she graces the stage with grace and beauty. Her love for ballet is amazing. 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 have just moved to Birmingham, England to start training at Elmhurst Ballet School, second year of the upper school

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I think for around 5-6 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

Grishko 2007

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My older sister did ballet and so my parents put me into it

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I love so many but maybe auroras variation from act 1 and paquita variations 1 and 6.

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to get into a classical based company

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

I have so many amazing memories I couldn’t just choose one! I think just performing along side all my friends and the lead up to performing a big work is so exciting and I’ve really enjoyed things like that.

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

I love Melissa Hamilton, Sharni Spencer, Akane Takada, Marianela Núñez, Maria Khoreva, I am inspired by my teachers and my class mates and so many more!

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

All my teachers throughout my life have all been so amazing, I think them just being so supportive all the time is the best advice they can give me.

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

You’re on your own journey and have to focus on you and your training and not comparing yourself to the other people in your class and around the world

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

Ballet is so difficult and so I think the best thing is when you achieve something that you’ve worked so hard on to achieve!

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

I think not only is ballet physically hard it’s also very mentally hard, the constant comparison to the other dancers and the frustration when you are trying so hard to accomplish something and it’s just not working out

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”?

It is very hard, and some days I get extremely tired but I don’t think I’ve ever thought of stopping. I guess once I knew I wanted to dance seriously and try and make a career out of it I could never imagine myself not dancing

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical Tutu!

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

I am extremely lucky to have never had any serious injuries, just a few little ones

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

I love spending time with friends, doing some Pilates, baking and experimenting with food and different recipes, and I love travelling!