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Q&A With Brazilian Ballerina Letícia Fernandes

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started when I was 4 years old

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I study at the State Ballet School of Berlin

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I’ve been en pointe since I was 9 years old

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear Gaynor Minden point shoes

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My mom put me in a Ballet school and since this I love ballet!!

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favorite variations are The Pharaoh’s Daughter and Walpurgis Night

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I don’t know yet which company I would like to join

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

All memories I have since I came to my ballet school are special to me! I can’t choose one

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

My role models are Marianela Nuñes, Aurora Dickie and Mayara Magri

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

“In your life no one will encourage you, you need to be the one who encourages yourself to do it better.”

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

 I would say to never give up your dreams and it doesn’t matter what the others say.

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

I love being a ballerina because I can express myself without words, just with our bodies

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

We suffer a lot with our bodies shape, weight and 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 think we all already have these days when we just think we are not good enough and we just want to give up. But doesn’t matter the day we can’t give up, otherwise our hard work will just despair

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

I really love romantic tutus!

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

Yes. Once I broke my left foot and I have knee problems

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

I like to draw, to go shopping with my friends and I also like to dance other dance styles!

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Zoe Brady

I had the chance recently to ask Zoe Brady some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Zoe is a phenomenal 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 10 years old

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I am currently in my third year of training at the English National Ballet School

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been dancing on pointe since I was 12, so for about 7 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear freed pointe shoes

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I first started ballet when my dance teacher invited me to take classes to improve my technique for other genres. But when I was younger I was always dancing around the house wearing tutus and ballet slippers, so it was meant to be

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favourite variation is probably Odette

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

 I would love to work for any company, all I want is to be able to perform on stage.

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

I really enjoyed rehearsing one of the stepsisters from Cinderella, the character is very fun to play with

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

I feel like ballet would not be ballet without Marianela Nunez. I also love Beatriz Stix-Brunell and Yasmine Naghdi

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

Work for yourself

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

You are so special, don’t be afraid to be different. Be true to who you are

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

We get to dress up in the most beautiful costumes, dance to beautiful music and perform for an audience

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

Making sure we take care of our mental health, it’s so easy to fall into a downward spiral of negativity as we continuously strive for 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”?

Everyone has their days that are tougher than others, but I’ve never wanted to stop dancing. Having a close circle of friends who can relate and be there for you is so important

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

I love both!

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

No, I’ve never had a serious injury

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

In my free time I love reading, doing yoga and exploring new places with friends

Q&A With American Ballerina Charlotte Borden

I had the opportunity recently to ask Charlotte Borden some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Charlotte is an amazing 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 when I was 3 but I started seriously focusing on it at age 10.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I dance in Bellevue, WA under the direction of Ms Deborah Hadley and Ms Amy Thompson

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I started en pointe a little before I turned 11, so about 2.5 years now

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear Nikolay Maya 1 Pros

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I started out at a competition studio where I took almost all dance styles, including ballet and the summer I turned 10 I decided I wanted to focus more seriously on ballet and left for a pre-professional ballet program

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

Right now it’s La Esmeralda but I change my mind a lot. 😆

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

My dream companies are Pacific Northwest Ballet and Houston Ballet.

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

That’s really hard. My favorite memories are probably my first time performing en pointe in the Nutcracker and also last year at WBAC in Seattle when I placed first for my contemporary solo and first for my pas de deux with my friend Devin

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

Deborah Hadley, Tanaquil Le Clercq, and Isabella Boylston

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

To not ever expect things to be handed to me and to always work hard in every combination and in every class

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

Well, I’m only 13 so I’m still taking advice from people older than me. But I think if I were going to give advice to someone even younger than me it’d be to not compare yourself to anyone around you

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

So many things! One of my favorite things is that I get to be an artist with my movement and character, not just during performances but every day in classes

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

In my opinion the hardest part of ballet is trying to get every movement as perfect as you can and make no mistakes

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”?

So far I haven’t really had that feeling. When I do think about the fact that I won’t really get to be a “normal” teenager, it doesn’t bother me because I am just trading that in for a different type of experience that not many teenagers get to have

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical tutu

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

Luckily no, not yet

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

I really like to draw and spend time with my family and friends.

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Charley Jennings

I had the chance recently to ask Charley Jennings some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Charley is an amazing dancer, she graces the stage with incredible poise and elegance. Her passion for ballet is phenomenal. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet at the age of three

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently train at the Annette Roselli Dance Academy in the elite training program

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been en pointe since I was 12 so 4 years!

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear Grisko 2007’s

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I first got involved with ballet because I told my mum I wanted to be like Angelina ballerina!

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My all time favourite variation would have to be Raymonda dream variation or Giselle

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to work for any ballet company as it is such an honour to be able to get into a company!

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

My favourite moments/ memories in ballet are performing on stage and meeting my amazing friends for the first time!

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

My ballet role model would have to be Marianela Núñez!

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

The best advice I have ever received from a teacher is that you do not have to be born with talent or anything going for you as long as you work hard and have a good mindset you can achieve greatness

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

I would tell my younger self to not compare myself to other as we are all on different roads to different destinations

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

The best thing about being a ballerina is seeing all the blood sweat and tears pay off when you perform. It is such an amazing feeling!

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

The hardest thing about being a ballerina is always wanting to be perfect and knowing that nothing will ever be perfect in ballet!

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”?

Some days are extremely tough in ballet! Some days you are sore and exhausted and getting out of bed is very tough but I have never had a second thought about wanting to become a professional ballet dancer it has always been my goals no matter how exhausted I was or are.

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Both are so stunning! If I had to pick I would say classical.

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

I have suffered two serious injuries being a broken ankle and a dislocated knee! Luckily I had many people around me supporting me to recover and become stronger then ever!

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

I love spending time with my friends and family when I’m not dancing as through the week I am so busy!

Q&A With American Ballerina Kelsey K

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet at the age of 5 but I became much more serious about it at age 14

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

My studio recently went out of business due to COVID-19 but I’m in the process of finding a new one

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I’ve been on pointe for 3 years.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear Suffolk Sonnet

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My mom put me in ballet class when I was little but I never really enjoyed it until I saw a preformance at age 14 and decided it was my passion.

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

There’s so many variations I love but the sugarplum fairy variation holds a special place in my heart

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

My favorite company is probably the New York City ballet, dancing with them would be a dream

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

My favorite memory of ballet is probably my first recital after I went to a more challenging school and started working very hard. My father was so proud of me, I came off stage and we both cried. One of my favorite memories in general

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

Michaela DePrince is the most inspiring dancer and I absolutely adore her. She’s definitely my role model!

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

“Don’t try, do.”

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

Don’t worry about how good others are, don’t compare. Everyone is on their own journey

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

Getting to be apart of something special, being able to have a place where the rest of the issues in the world just cant impact me, and being around the people that I’ve met

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

Hardest thing would probably be actually getting myself to regularly stretch and work hard

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 do have days where I’m frustrated and I don’t see the point, but then I remember that ballet has made me who I am today and has really helped me grow as a person

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Depends on the ballet but probably classical.

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

Not yet!!

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

When I’m not dancing I like to spend time with my friends 🙂

Q&A With American Ballerina Alessandra Martinez

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I began ballet when I was four years old

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently dance at St. Lucie Ballet

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been on pointe for 7 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear Bloch Heritage pointe shoes

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I had always been fascinated with dance, especially ballet. My step-dad took me to my first ballet class for Valentine’s Day and I instantly fell in love!

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favorite variation is Talisman

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to work for Houston Ballet

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

My favorite memory is when I performed with my ballet family at Shake the Ground dance competition. We performed the Little Humped Back Horse and won first place within the whole competition. We had such a great time performing on stage together!

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

My ballet role models are Maria Khoreva and Marianela Nunez

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

The best advice I have ever received is to always keep working, for there is always something to be improved on. Nothing will ever be perfect!

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

I would tell the young version of myself to believe in herself and to be more confident, not lettting what other people think affect the way she dances

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

The best thing about being a ballerina is The ability to tell a story through the music and movement, engaging with the audience

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

The hardest thing in ballet is the feeling of frustration when things are not going well, or when you feel down. You just need to tell yourself to never give up and that things get better

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, and I believe it is one of the toughest things about ballet. Sometimes we get so down, that we feel like quitting, but we need to be able to pick ourselves back up and tell ourselves that tomorrow is a brand new day

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical tutu!

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

Yes I have suffered a serious injury. I had struggled with plantar fasciitis a few years ago. I couldn’t dance for a long time, but I was able to do stretching and some floor barre.

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

My favorite thing to do outside of the studio is to spend time with my dance friends. I think that it is important for us to spend time together relaxing and doing activities. We spend so much time in the studio, it’s a nice change to spend time together is another setting.

Q&A With American Ballerina Piper Panek

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

When I was 3 years old

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

West Point Ballet

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

About 4 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

Russian Pointe

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My mom was a ballerina and she put me in ballet at a young age

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I love Aurora act 1

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

Any would be a dream, but maybe Royal Ballet or American Ballet Theatre

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

One of my favorite ballet memories was when I was given the opportunity to preform in Italy

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

My teachers are a huge inspiration to me and my mom. A dancer that I love to watch is Sylvie Guillem, she is such an inspiration

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

Treat every day like it is your last day dancing

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

Always give it all you have and never give up

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

I love dancing to show my art to other people that may not know what doing ballet is like or the dedication it takes to be a ballerina.

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

It is probably the intricate footwork and the time that ballet takes up working 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, there was a time that I felt like giving up and wanting to have a normal life , but ballet is what I love so i stuck with it and I know that was the right decision

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical tutu

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

No, lucky I have never had a serious injury

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

I like hanging with my friends and family when not at dance.

Q&A With American Ballerina Cassidy Doan

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was only three! I didn’t begin my professional training until I was 13 though

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I used to dance with Houston Ballet Academy before the pandemic hit

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been en pointe for 6 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear suffolk stellars size 5.5 N

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I first got involved in ballet with my local ballet studio, Southland ballet academy. I trained there for 12 years! they’re the reason why I love ballet

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favorite variation would have to be Juliet variation or Giselle act 1!

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to work for Houston Ballet or ABT

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

My favorite moment would be performing at the Lincoln center at NY finals. I loved dancing with all of those talented people and being with my mom & dance teacher backstage

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

Tyler Donatelli and Skylar Brandt are definitely my ballet role models. they’re SO AMAZING

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

Best advice? hmm. that’s tough. All of my teacher just share so much of their wisdom and are always there to guide me. I would say: Do whatever you love most, and share your passion with the rest of the world!

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

Advice to my younger self? Don’t push yourself too hard. Enjoy every moment, and don’t take the performance opportunities for granted.

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

The best thing about being a ballerina is being able move so freely and gracefully. I also loveee the pointe shoes!

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

Yeah, I said pointe shoes are the best thing. They’re also the worst lol.

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 DEFINITELY have wanted to given up ballet sometimes. to be honest, I even felt like I should have chosen an easier career during corona or be a “normal teenager.” I’ve worked too hard to give up now, thus far

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

I actually love romantic tutus!

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

Yes I suffered from Osgood-Shlatter disease when I 13. Because I was dancing so much, I had bad pain in my knee ligament that I had to take a break for a few months

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

When in not dancing, I love to spend time with my friends and family! I have also been volunteering for the community, even virtually. Lately I’ve been studying lots for college applications and spending valuable time at home with my family.

Q&A With Dutch Ballerina Iris Koelewijn

I recently had an opportunity to ask Iris Koelewijn some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Iris 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 6, so 14 years ago

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I dance and teach at Gelderse Balletscholen in Ermelo, The Netherlands associated with the Royal Academy of Dance

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I got on pointe when I was 11, so 9 years ago

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

At the moment I wear Bloch Eurostretch Synthesis

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My mother also danced when she was younger and I always loved all the Barbie movies where there was ballet involved. My grandma always played classical music in her house which made me love the music. When I was 6, I got the choice to choose a sport or hobby and I wanted to go to ballet classes

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I love all the Kitri variations and the Pharao’s Daughter variation

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I don’t want to get into a company as I want to become a certified RAD teacher

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

My favorite memory is when I got the leading role of Kitri in our performance of Don Quichot in 2017

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

I really love Marianela Nunez, she inspires me so much and is one of the best ballerinas in my opinion

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

To always believe in yourself, even when you feel like giving up

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

Don’t be so harsh in yourself, you can’t do anything perfectly. I am such a perfectionist, and I was very insecure when I was younger. I would tell myself that everything will work out eventually and to never give up

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

The feeling I get when dancing and teaching, you get consumed by it, and don’t have to think about anything else. It feels like flying

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

That sometimes you feel like you’re not improving anymore. Sometimes steps or exercises that I could easily do last year, I can’t do know. You change, your body changes and especially after quarantine and not fully dancing for a half year, it is really hard to get back in shape

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! It was hard to struggle school and ballet. When I got home from school, I was too tired to do homework and I just wanted to go to ballet. So I went to ballet class after school and woke up extra early the next morning to learn or do my homework

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

Once I injured my hamstring. I went into the split without warming up. A really bad idea🙂

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

When I’m not dancing or teaching, I like to meet up with my friends. I can’t see them during the week but only in the weekends because of my schedule. So I love to hang out with them and catch up.

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Amity Gentle

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

Started dance when I was 3

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently dance at Queensland national ballet full time

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been on pointe for 9 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear grishko fouetté

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I watched the Russian ballet then became obsessed with it

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favourite variation is dying swan from carnival of the animals and canary from sleeping beauty

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to dance for bolshoi or Moscow ballet

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

Getting into Joffrey ballet in 2019

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

Lee cunxin and Anna pavlova

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

That as long as you try hard it doesn’t matter if you fail

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

That it doesn’t matter if someone has better legs or body than you because if you work harder than them you are more likely to succeed

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

Getting cheered for after dancing something you’ve worked hard for

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

Dealing with the blood blisters and injuries

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 wanted to quit dance

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Romantic and classical tutus are both very pretty but I love the way romantic tutus go with your movements

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

I have no cartilage in my body so I’ve always suffered injuries since I was young but the main one I have is my knee popping out of place and I’ve sprained me ankle very badly last term

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

When I’m not dancing I’m usually doing school work since I’m doing distance education but when I’m not dancing and doing school work and usually doing art