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Q&A With Australian Ballerina Celine Urquhart

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was 4 years old. I trained for a year, however I did not really enjoy the class and decided to quit. But then, when I was 9, my mother convinced me to try it again. I have been doing ballet ever since

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently dance at the John Cranko Schule in Stuttgart, Germany. It is a fantastic school and I am so grateful to be able to train there every day

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been en pointe for roughly 5 years, as I got my first pair of pointe shoes when I was almost 12.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear pointe shoes from Freed of London. This brand has been my favourite so far and I love how secure and comfortable these shoes make me feel while dancing

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My mother has experience in the ballet and contemporary fields and hence was the main reason for why I started ballet

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I would have to say either Aurora act 1 (from Sleeping Beauty) or some of the variations from Paquita

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to work for any company, but some of my favourites are the Royal Ballet, the Stuttgart Ballet, the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky Theatre

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

I think most of my favourite memories and moments in Ballet are the ones on stage. I love the feeling of performing on stage, and it is what makes me love this art form so much

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

My favourite ballet dancers are Marianela Nunez, Evgenia Obraztsova, Svetlana Zakharova and Elisa Badenes. I adore watching them perform and they truly inspire me by the way that they can effortlessly perform movements as well as tell a story on stage

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

To not get to focused on the technical aspect but instead to learn how to really dance with your emotions and upper body

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

I strongly advise to not let negative thoughts stop you from achieving your goals. It is so important to live each day with a positive mindset, otherwise you may regret having spent so much time worrying about issues that aren’t even that serious. Life is too short to spend every day worrying about the next challenge

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

The best thing about being a ballerina is that you get to study beautiful music, train your memory skills and keep fit at the same time

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

Negative self-esteem and body-images are probably the two hardest things about ballet. However, by changing your mindset and appreciating yourself for who you are, one can easily overcome these challenges

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 these days all the time. I have days where I feel as though, everything I do is wrong and pointless. However, these days are actually the most important ones, as they remind me of how much I love and want to pursue this career

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

I have been very fortunate, and have never had a serious injury. I have however had some injuries here and there that have prevented me from giving my best in classes and performances. Although they seem like the end of the world at the time, they are sometimes positive things as they teach dancers what not to do the next time and make them more appreciative of their career

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

In my free time I love to draw, cook and spend time with friends or family.

Q&A With American Ballerina Kayla Engelhardt

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was six years old

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently dance with Colorado Ballet as a pre professional student

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been en point for about four years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear Capizio Avas

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My mom put me into a ballet class when I was little and loved feeling like a princess

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

t’s hard to pick one variation but I would say my favorite variation is Swan Lake act 2 Odette

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I’m trying to keep my options open but I would love to work for Colorado Ballet or I am also looking into other contemporary companies

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

I think one of my favorite memories in ballet has been performing Graduation Ball where I performed the role of fouetté girl. This was such a fun ballet and I loved portraying my character

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

Being able to work so close with the Colorado Ballet company dancers has truly been a blessing and I am inspired by so many of them. Dana Benton and Maria Mosina have been big role models of mine since I was little

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

The best advice a teacher has given me is to come into the studio everyday with one thing that you want to fix. At times, I would catch myself trying to fix so many things at once that I wouldn’t actually fix any of them. When I come into the studio with one specific goal in mind, I can accomplish one goal everyday

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

Advice that I would give to my younger self would be to be more patient with myself. Progress and success don’t come overnight. It takes time and effort to accomplish your goals

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

The best thing about being a ballerina is being transform into any character on stage. I love the challenge of it. I also love the pretty tutus!

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

The hardest thing about being a ballerina is the strive to keep your determination. It can be very discouraging at some points but I have to keep reminding myself of why I love 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”?

I think that when I was little I was a very hard worker and always strived to do more. As i’ve gotten older I can see myself getting more burnt out. Some days I have doubts about my future ballet career and if this is the right path for me. I think that everyone my age can relate to this and relate to the wanting to be a “normal teen”. Overall, I love ballet and I wouldn’t want to give that up.

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

I love wearing classical tutus

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

I tend to be prone to stress fractures in my feet. I have had four stress fractures that have taken me out of ballet for a couple months each time. Thankfully, nothing that has required surgery though

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

It’s hard to find free time because when i’m not dancing I will be working on school. But one of my favorite things to do is take trips to the mountains. I love hiking 14ers, camping, skiing and exploring with my family. Colorado is such a beautiful state and I love to take advantage of all the views it has to offer.

Q&A With Canadian Ballerina Olivia Book

I had an opportunity recently to ask Olivia Book some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Olivia is an amazing dancer, her determination and strength in ballet is incredible, she never lets anything hold her back. 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 but I started to really love it and focus on in when I was 12

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently dance at Ballet West Academy in the Professional Training Division

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I started dancing en pointe when I was 12

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear Grishko(Nikolay in the USA) 3007’s

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I started in competitive dance when I was 9 and even though I did multiple style of dance like tap, jazz, hip hop and ballet my studio was more heavily focused on ballet unlike most competitive studios. I think what really pushed me to focus more on ballet was watching all the older girls at my studio as well as watching professional ballerinas and thinking to myself that I want to be as amazing as them one day

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favourite variation to watch is the Act 1 Aurora Variation mostly because of how elegant the music is and how the choreography is just so stunning. Although my favourite variation to dance is the second female variation from Flower Festival.

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I’m very open minded when it comes to companies because I would just like to be apart of one with a kind and non-toxic environment. Although my dream company is definitely the Royal Danish Ballet

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

My favourite memory in ballet was in 2018 when I attended a workshop with Kizzy Matiakis, Principal at the Royal Danish Ballet where she invited me to the Royal Danish Ballet Summer School. After attending the summer school I knew I wanted to start training more professionally and hopefully become a professional dancer. I learned so much and met so many amazing people that summer and it changed myself as a dancer as well as a person and it will forever be one of the highlights in my life

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

My ballet role models are Kizzy Matiakis and Holly Dorger, both principals at the Royal Danish Ballet. I admire both their artistry and technique so much, watching them dance is breathtaking and they’re both some of the kindest people i’ve ever met. Hopefully i’ll get to watch them perform in person one day!

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

Best advice i’ve received was from my previous ballet teacher Alice Burke. She told me this a few days before my first YAGP in 2019, she said “your body knows what it’s doing, trust it. Your technique will work and shine through even if you’re not thinking about it. So just go out there and perform, and let your body do what it does best: dance.” I love this advice because I think more often that not we focus so much on the technique of everything that we forget the most important part is the artistry

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

Advice I would give myself is to believe in yourself. When I was younger I wasn’t very confident and was self-conscious about my arm(although I kind of still am) so I would tell my younger self to not worry what other people are thinking, especially in dance class. Everyone is focused about themselves so don’t worry so much, it won’t help you in the long run

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

The best thing about being a ballerina is knowing that you get to do what you love every day. Being able to perform on stage and play different characters is such a wonderful aspect that comes with this wonderful feeling that is too difficult to explain

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

I think the most difficult thing about being a ballerina the constant drive and motivation you need to have everyday to keep progressing as a dancer. As well as continuing to work hard even when you may not be seeing big results of your work everyday, as nothing is instant and everything is so gradual and takes 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”?

I don’t think I had days where I didn’t want to become a ballerina but I did have days when I didn’t think it was possible for me to become a ballerina and it definitely took time for me to get out of that feeling and believe in myself

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Ooo that’s a tough one because I love romantic tutus as their used in many Bournonville ballets, like Napoli, but classical tutus are so goregous and make you feel like a shining star!!

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

I’m not sure if this would be considered serious but the most severe injury i’ve had was when I subluxed(popped out and back in) my knee cap. It was one of those injuries where I was able to start dancing again after a week but had to slowly build strength in my knee to be able to do everything in class again. It took about 2 months for me to get through a whole day of dance without any discomfort or pain and it was definitely a test of my resilience.

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

On my free time I usually watch Netflix or Youtube just to fully relax or I’ll sew new pointe shoes while I watch tv. But I also love to bake, research ingredients to cook with and plan out what I’m doing to make for dinner next week!

Q&A With British Ballerina Tori Gibbons

I had the opportunity recently to ask Tori Gibbons some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Tori is a fantastic 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?

I started ballet at 3 years old

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I train at Academy of Balletic Arts and Forte Dance Academy

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been en pointe for 6 years, I got my first pair at 10 years old

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear Russian Pointe Rubin Radiance

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I used to watch my older sister in ballet class and always wanted to join in but wasn’t allowed to start classes until I was 3

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I love the Tchaikovsky PDD variation

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to work for English National Ballet or Joffrey but I’d be grateful to work for any company

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

My favourite dance memory is dancing with London Children’s Ballet at the West End

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

Marianela Núñez and Alina Cojocaru

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

Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard

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

Don’t listen to the people who told you that you weren’t good enough

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

Getting to meet people who share the same passion

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

Trying to balance school work and 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”?

Never, I’m lucky that most my friends are very supportive of me dancing

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Both I love them equally for many different reasons

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

Luckily I haven’t had a serious injury

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

When I’m not dancing I’m running my own business @_floralbunsco

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Laura Mclean

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was six years old

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently attend Queensland National Ballet

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I started pointe when I was 12 years old when I was attending En point School of Ballet

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear grishko 2007 pointe shoes, after trying on all of the styles through the years I am in love with these shoes

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

When I was younger I started walking on my toes and my parents decided to take me to my first ballet class. I absolutely hated it and didn’t want to listen to my teacher and went on to swim. A couple of years later my mum put me back into a class when I was 6 and oddly enough I loved it and have been doing to ever since

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

It is so hard to decide which my favourite variation is, I love so many of them. To narrow it down my top three favourites would have to be 3rd Odalisque variation from Le Corsaire, lilac fairy from sleeping beauty and Queen Of Dryads from La Byadere

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would say my favourite companies would have to be either Australian ballet or Houston ballet

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

My favourite memory would be when my ballet school got chosen to perform in the Opera house last year for the Sydney eisteddfod Finals

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

My all time favourite dancer who inspires me the most would have to be Marianela Nunez! She is beautiful and such an inspiration to watch

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

The best advice I have ever received from a teacher would be that you should always work harder then you did the day before, always continue to be the best person of yourself and keep inspiring yourself

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

I would tell my younger self to not be afraid of leaping out of my comfort zone and push the limits. I would also tell myself to never give up and that I’m capable of so much

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

The best thing about being a ballerina is that I get to wake up and do what I love everyday and that there is always something to work for

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

The hardest thing about being a ballerina is trying to push aside all of the hard mental aspects and how tough it is on your body and mind

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 had quite a few days and sometimes months where I would doubt myself and if I should make this a career, but through all of those hard days I’m so thankful I never gave up

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Romantic! There is something about the way they move through some movements that is absolutely stunning

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

so far I haven’t had any major injury (knock on wood!!) I have had a few rolled ankles and inflamed feet but nothing a little bit of ice and cream can’t fix

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

I usually spend my free time with friends, working or trying to get as much rest as possible. I also enjoy drawing and try to make a habit of that. :))

Q&A With American Ballerina Olivia Sacchetillo

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet at the age of 7

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I dance in the Professional Training Program at Cary Ballet Conservatory

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I began pointe work at 9 years old so 4 years now

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear Nikolay Dreampointe and Nova pointe shoes

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I got involved with ballet after watching my first ballet on stage. I absolutely fell in love with the art of dance, and I knew this is what I wanted to do as a career.

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I have so many favorite classical and neo-classical variations that I love. The Odette variation from Swan Lake is definitely one of my favorites. Odette is such an emotional character and portraying that character requires such depth and feeling. I would love to dance a role with such challenging artistic and emotional qualities. This variation is also so graceful and beautiful to watch

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

There are so many amazing ballet companies in the world, and I would be honored to be asked to dance in one of them! There are so many things to take into consideration when joining a company. If an opportunity comes along, I will have to take every aspect of the company (repertoire, method, location, etc.) and my abilities into account, both artistically and technically, to decide if it is a good fit for me. One of my dream companies is Miami City Ballet because I love the Balanchine method and their repertoire…and of course it’s in Florida.

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

I have so many wonderful dance memories. Every moment of dancing on stage is one of my favorites. I love the feeling of being onstage; I love that I can express myself through the music and the dance. It’s like nothing else matters or exists while I’m on stage…it feels amazing! One of my favorite memories is when I performed the role of Clara last year in the Nutcracker. I truly loved every moment of dancing and acting this role. I also love being backstage during performance warmups and preparations…just being in the theater with the added excitement of everyone getting ready and being with friends makes it all the more amazing!

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

Many ballet dancers inspire me. My role models range from student to principal dancer. Some of them include Yana Cherepanova, Ava Arbuckle, Remie Goins, Arianna Crosato Neumann, Reynu Wood, Andrea Huynh, Maddie Goodman, Skylar Brandt, Maria Khoreva, Iana Salenko, Kathryn Morgan, and Tiler Peck

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

I’ve gotten a lot of good advice over these years of dancing…but the most important for me was when a teacher told me that being hypermobile and having great flexibility are fantastic; however, it’s having the strength and stamina to do ballet that is more important than anything else

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

A few things that I’d tell my younger self are: always give my all in everything; don’t worry so much about being perfect; don’t worry about doing everything right the very first time because it will all come together in the end; apply all corrections given in class even if they’re not directed towards me; smile and breathe because no matter what happens, life keeps going

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

The best thing about being a ballerina is having the ability to do what I love every day and getting to share my passion and drive with others

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

The hardest thing about being a ballerina for me is the competition between dancers. There are so many beautiful ballerinas out there and we’re all working toward the same goal. We should try to support and encourage each other. I know it is sometimes difficult to not compare your journey to another dancer’s, but everyone is different and we are all on the journey to try to achieve the same goal

Q14: It seems like such hard work, did you ever have days growing up where you were like “ugh maybe I’ll just pick an easier career so I can be like a normal teenager”?

Honestly, I have never really wanted to give up dance. Dance is my passion, and I love every aspect of it. I love dancing all day and rehearsing for performances and competitions

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

I love both classical and romantic tutus

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

I have thankfully never had an injury. I am very careful with my body. If something is bothering me, I try to deal with it immediately as to not let it get worse. I try to listen to my body, so that I’ll be able to dance without injury…which I hope will allow me a long dance career

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

Outside of dance, I enjoy reading a good book, baking muffins, learning about the history of ballet, watching classical and neo-classical ballets, listening to music, hanging out with friends and family, and playing with my two cats.

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Samantha Wong

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was 5, this is my 11th year

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently dance fulltime at Alegria Dance Studios in Sydney

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

For 5 years, I got my first pair when I was 11

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently alternate between Bloch Aspirations and Bloch Synthesis

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My mum enrolled me in all the sports and I ended up liking Gymnastics and Ballet the most.

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

There are so many variations that I love but my 2 favorites would be Cupid from Don Quixote and the 1st Shade variation from La Bayadere

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to work for any company that will take me because of how competitive and tough the ballet world is….however it would be a dream to dance with the Royal Ballet London and the Australian Ballet

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

I’ve had so many great moment and memories in ballet but the one that stands out the most would be dancing with the Australian Ballet when I was 10 for their Nutcracker season in Sydney. It was such a unique fun experience being on stage with so many amazing professional dancers and performing for a large audience at the Sydney Opera House

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

My fellow classmates, Ako Kondo, Skylar Brandt, Benedicte Bemet and many more !

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

One of my teachers once told me to enjoy the time on stage because you’ve done all the hard work in the studio

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

I would tell my younger self to enjoy the moment and trust the process

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

The best thing about being a ballerina is getting to do what I love everyday, striving towards near perfection and performing on stage

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

The hardest thing about being a ballerina would be moving away from home for further opportunities such as accepting an offer at an overseas school

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”?

Definitely! There are days when you don’t feel like doing ballet and you start to wonder what it would be like if you didn’t choose ballet but I always remind myself of the thrill and rush when I’m on stage and it makes me love ballet again.

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

I love both but classical!

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

Yes, earlier this year I tore a ligament in my knee that took me out for 6 weeks. Luckily I had some very supportive teachers and friends that made the 6 weeks go super fast.

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

Since I’m always dancing, I don’t have heaps of free time. When I do, most of the free time is spent doing school work or watching my favourite tv series – Grey’s Anatomy.

Q&A With American Ballerina Brett Rule

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet at the age of 3 when my mom opened her studio!

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently dance at Houston Ballet Academy as a Pro 1

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I’ve been on pointe for 9 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear custom Capezio pointe shoes

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I first got involved in ballet when my mom opened her studio!!

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favorite variation is probably Tchaikovsky Pas or White Swan

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to be in the company at Houston Ballet or American Ballet Theatre

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

All of my favorite memories involve dancing, so I could not possibly choose one!!

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

I’m continuously inspired by Wendy Whelan, Isabella Boylston, Misty Copeland, Megan Fairchild, and Sara Mearns!!

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

The best advice I’ve ever received from a teacher is to be the best version of myself and not to compare myself to others

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

If I could give my younger self advice I would say to not compare myself to others and to remember to have fun.

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

I think the best thing about being a ballerina is working so hard everyday and being able to see my hard work pay off

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

I think the hardest thing about being a ballerina is trying to make everything seem so effortless, when it really is so difficult

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”?

Even though ballet is so difficult, I’ve never had a time where I wanted to quit because of the hard work. I love challenges and pushing myself, so I love ballet

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

I love both!! But my favorite is a romantic tutu

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

I did have to have surgery in between my fourth and pinky toes because of a bad corn. Before I had surgery, I had blood poisoning from a blister popping in my toe, which resulted in my toe being infected with E.Coli. I had to wear a cast and boot for 7 weeks!

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

I love spending time with my family and friends when I am not dancing. I especially love spending time with my grandparents every weekend.

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Isabelle Despoja

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

currently dancing in the ballet stream, first year at WAAPA

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I think I started point around 12-13, most common time to start

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear the capezio cambre shoes

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

Pretty general, mum took me to ballet when I was very little, haven’t stopped since

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favourite variation is the Don Q, Kitri variation from act 1 and second shade La Bayadere

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I’d be happy to work anywhere ☺️, but would like to move overseas

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

Probably the last time I performed, which was at the RAD awards doing second shade, thoroughly enjoyed dancing on stage

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

I love Michaela Deprince from Dutch national ballet, as I have coloured skin and a muscular body, Michaela is a true role model for me

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

Don’t hold back, worst that could happen is you fall, but you won’t

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

To not hold back, and to trust your body, be confident with who you are

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

Having the opportunity to perform and be artistic

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

Everything

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 all the time, those days I would talk to a lot of ppl, and try find myself

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

Yes, very common, shin splints, rolled ankle

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

Spend time with friends, and be a normal teenager

Q&A With Canadian Ballerina Tess Browning

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I was 3! I started training seriously at 14

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

San Francisco Ballet School

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

Since I was 11 so 6 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

Russian pointe Rubin radiance

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My mom is actually a ballet teacher and owned a studio at the time so it was kinda destined that I would be a dancer haha

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

La Esmeralda! I think it’s from act one scene two. it’s not the one with the tambourine it’s with castenets!

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

San Francisco ballet or The Royal Ballet

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

I didn’t really have an exact moment but the feeling

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

Dancers that inspire you. So many but here are a few of my faves. Sasha de sola Marianela Nunez Yasmine naghdi Celine Gittens

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

To be you and believe in your self ! Sounds easy but it helps a lot if you relax and perform

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

To stop comparing your self to others, everyone is on their own path

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

Definitely performing for an audience! I love the silence in the theatre when you are dancing and feeling the audiences energy in the room it’s just magical!!

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

For me it’s always trying to stay in shape, especially with the whole dancing at home quarantine situation that is going on. Convincing yourself to keep training, strengthening, stretching, and eating well when you don’t know when your next performance will be is very tough

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 all the time! When I was going to regular school and had friends in the “normal teenager” world I thought about that a lot. I just could never imagine my life without ballet and when I realized that I knew I had to keep working hard on my dream

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Ooo tough choice! I think I have to say classical just cause it seems like a classic ballet look 🙂

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

No I haven’t, I’ve been really lucky. I do get the occasional little injury but nothing to serious

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

I really love playing just dance on my Nintendo Switch haha. And also in the summer I like to go jet skiing! Other than that I like to spend time out side with family, friends, and pets!!