Category: Ballet

Q&A With American Ballerina Emma Spillane

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started seriously when I was 11

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I dance at the Rock School For Dance Education

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I started pointe at 11

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear Grishkos!

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I used to only do other styles but I saw videos of ballerinas on YouTube and that inspired me to do ballet

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favorite variation is Raymonda

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to work for any company as long as I am enjoying myself and doing what I love which is ballet!

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

One of my favorite memories in ballet was being able to go to Paris to participate in the YAGP Paris classes. It was an amazing experience to take class at the Paris Opera and to explore Paris as well

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

I have so many ballet role models but some of my favorites are Svetlana Zakharova and Sarah Lamb

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

I would say the best advice I’ve ever received from a teacher is not to give up.

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

If I were to give advice to my younger self I would say to not compare yourself to others as much. Each person has there own path they are going on

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

The best thing about being a ballerina is performing. I love expressing my emotions through dancing and performing

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

The hardest thing about ballet I think is staying determined even when it gets 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”?

I’ve never really wanted to stop Ballet. But I have had days that are super hard to get through, but at the end of the day I am happy because I am very lucky to be doing what I love.

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical tutu!

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

Luckily I have never suffered from a serious injury

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

When I am not dancing I love doing yoga, reading, baking, and spending time with friends.

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Sie Bingham

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

When I was 2

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

Tanya Pearson Academy

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

For 4 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

Grishko 2007s and Repetto Alicia

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

From a young age I knew I wanted to dance. After trying out other styles like jazz and tap, I knew ballet was what I wanted to do

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

Medora act 3

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

Teatro Alla Scala

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

Being on stage

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

Marianela Nunez, Yasmin Naghdi, Svetlana Zakharova the list goes on

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

Be the music

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

Believe in yourself because you don’t know what the future can hold

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

Being able to put a smile on someone’s face through movement

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

Everything throughout ballet is very difficult. But perfecting lines and making your movement look effortless is really 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”?

There have definitely been days where I have doubted myself but I don’t think I’ll ever think about quitting ballet

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

I prefer a Romantic

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

I have had multiple injuries through my life but non of them were serious enough for me to stop ballet

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

I usually like to use my free time to let my body heal for the next day x

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Jayde Olsen

I had an opportunity recently to ask Jayde Olsen some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Jayde is a fantastic 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?

Age 3

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

Since age 11, so 6 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

Gaynor Minden

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I began because my older sister was starting and we did it together

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

Cupid, from the Don Quixote Dream Scene or Le Corsaire (for males)

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

Queensland Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, or The Australian Ballet

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

Anytime before a performance, when we are all on stage preparing, the curtain is still closed and hearing the audience creep in and the overture begin.

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

Darcy Bussell, Sascha Radetsky, and David Power.

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

What doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger

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

Work hard and don’t compare yourself to others

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

The special bonds you make with your friends, being able to perform different characters, and being able to dance to beautiful music

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

The time and dedication required, therefore sometimes missing out on other events or activities.

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 haha

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical for sure

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

No I haven’t and I’m very lucky

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

I love playing sports and going to AFL games, as well as watching musicals!!

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Paige Hollings

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was three years old

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently dance at Tanya Pearson Academy.

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

4 years now

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear Bloch Sonata pointe shoes.

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My mum enrolled me when I was three and I just loved it.

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

: My favourite variation is Lilac Fairy

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I’m not sure at the moment

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

A favourite memory would be performing on stage for the first time

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

My ballet role models are my current and past teachers

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

The best advice is to keep following my dreams.

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

To trust yourself and your journey

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

The friends you get meet, performing on stage, and getting to do what I love everyday!

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

The hardest thing about being a ballerina is pushing through when my muscles and feet are so sore.

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 days where I’ve ever wanted to stop or try something else, I’ve always loved ballet

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical tutus are my favourite

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

Thankfully I’ve never suffered from a serious injury

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

I love to spend time with my friends and walk my dog.

Q&A With American Ballerina Emma Cilke

I had the opportunity recently to ask Emma Cilke some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Emma is a phenomenal 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 three years old

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I dance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts HS Ballet Program

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I’ve been en pointe for about five years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear the Wineglass Maker Freeds!

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I was a late-walker when I was younger so my parents decided to put me in ballet classes hoping to improve my motive skills haha!

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favorite variation is Kitri Act III or the Black Swan variation.

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to work for American Ballet Theatre or Boston Ballet!

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

I enjoy every moment on stage and I can’t wait till I’m performing for live audiences again!

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

Marianela Núñez and Misa Kuranaga are two of my biggest inspirations!

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

I’ve received so many beneficial corrections from all of teachers but the top one would be to not internalize all of my work, but to instead perform out to the audience. After all, it is a performing art!

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

As cliche as it sounds, it’s so important to realize early on that everyone has a different path. Focus on yourself and focus only on the work YOU’RE putting in

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

The constant strive, never ending work, and performances are the best parts about being a ballerina. Also the work ethic that is taught from a young age has helped me grow into a better person in all aspects of my life!

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

The constant critiques and nitpicking can be exhausting and frustrating but it’s all worth it in the end.

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 certainly have my bad days just like any other human being. It’s important to accept where you are THAT day, even if it’s not quite where you were yesterday. It’s not always constant growth but it’s important that you’re always unfolding at an authentic pace for yourself.

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Both!

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

Not yet (knock on wood)!

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

I love to spend time with my family and friends as well as trying new things like shops, restaurants, books, and shows!

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Ella Hodgson

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

When I was 2 1/2

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

Premiere Studios

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

1 1/2 years learning

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

European balance

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I started a baby combo class, I started RAD when I was 5 and started to then really love ballet

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

Cupid, I’ve been learning and working on in class

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

The Australian ballet

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

Getting my first pointe shoes

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

Vicky Attard

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

It’s not just about being good at dancing, it’s important to have dedication and discipline

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

Always listen to your teachers they know best

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

There’s always more to strive for and it’s the best feeling to dance

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

Pushing through pain and trying my best when I’m tired

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 way I love dancing so much I’ll never stop

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Aww hard choice, I love romantic tutus

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

No

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

Hang out with my friends, shopping for clothes, go to the beach, watch movies and spend time with my family!

Q&A With American Ballerina Isabella Rybarczyk

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was two.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I dance at MJL Ballet in Itasca, Illinois

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been en pointe since I was 10

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear Gaynor Mindens

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I first started by taking jazz and pre ballet just for fun. Then around age 10 I started training strictly ballet

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

Act 1 variation from Don Quixote. I love the fire and fierceness in the character and in the movement

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I have a few in mind such as Boston Ballet and English National Ballet

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

When I got my first pair of pointe shoes. It was an amazing moment and I just knew that I wanted to be a ballerina

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

My absolute favorite ballerinas are Maria Khoreva and Skylar Brandt. They are such beautiful and strong dancers

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

That ballet isn’t about the steps, but the movement and emotion that you portray to the audience.

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

Don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone is different in their own way and has their own unique style

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

Definitely when I get to perform on stage and show everyone how hard I’ve worked and just hearing these applause for you at the end of your performance. Therefore, just know that your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

Getting through a long long day of rehearsals

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 those thoughts every once in awhile, but then I just listen to the Don Quixote Wedding Pas De Duex music and I just remember that it will all be worth it and that I am working towards something I’ve always dreamed of

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Romantic tutu

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

Never luckily!

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

I love to go on jogs and I love to cook with my mom and my little sister

Q&A With American Ballerina Samantha Wright-Vargas

I had the chance recently to ask Samantha Wright-Vargas some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Samantha is a fantastic dancer, she takes to the stage with phenomenal grace and poise. 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 dance at Art Ballet Academy in Arlington, Texas

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been en pointe for almost 4 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear Russian pointe rubins. I love them so much!

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I first got involved in ballet whenever my mom signed me up for my first dance class when I was three. As my mom and I started discovering my love for this form of dance, I switched dance studios at the age of 7 to start focusing more on ballet

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

There are so many variations and each one is so unique! My absolute favorites, though, have to be Grand Pas Classique, Giselle, Kitri Act 1, Awakening of Flora, and La Esmeralda

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

It would be a dream to work at the Royal Ballet, ABT, Houston Ballet, or others

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

My favorite memory’s are definitely the times I get to perform in my studios Nutcracker performance every year alongside by friends. I have gotten to dance a wide variety of magnificent roles, and I always have so much fun. Also, competing at YAGP this past February was a memorable moment, and dancing a pas de deux with my partner Harris @hbyesenikballet; it was amazing winning 2nd place with him, and placing 3rd in my classical solo, getting invited to participate in NY finals with both numbers (which unfortunately got cancelled this year).

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

Some professional ballerinas that inspire me are Maria Khoreva, Marianela Núñez, and Natalia Osipova

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

The best advice I have received from my teacher is to use as many port de bras and expressions in various ways to dance as different characters

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

Always believe in yourself, and never feel down if you might not have a certain characteristic. Hard work, smart work, and determination are key if you want to improve, even in the little things

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

Getting to compete and preparing for a competition are always fun and rigorous moments that I love. Also, the beauty of the art, and the hard work it requires to look beautiful are some of my favorite aspects of it. I’m so grateful I get to do it every day!

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

The hardest thing about being a ballerina is probably the possible mental challenges, and thinking you aren’t good enough for the art. It is always best to believe in yourself, and keep in mind that absolute perfection doesn’t exist in this sport

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 have thought about that before, but the time it did happen, I looked back at why I dance and the happiness it brings me. I can’t imagine living without ballet! It has shaped me in so many ways, and it has made me into who I am today

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Definitely classical tutus

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

Thankfully, I haven’t had any major injuries

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

In my free time, I love to bake, read, ride a bike, and spend time with my family! Also, I enjoy playing the piano and the violin!

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Chelsea Stewart

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started dancing at about 3 years old

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I’m currently in my first year at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I think I was about 12 when I first started so 7 years now

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I’m wearing Bloch Aspirations at the moment but I’ve worn many before, Capezio is another of my faves

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I was a bit of a bambi when I was younger so my mum put me in a ballet class so I could try gain some control of my limbs!

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I have recently been doing Giselle which I absolutely love. It’s the perfect combination of artistry and technique for me: so challenging in both!

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to work for Royal New Zealand Ballet one day

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

There are a few. One of the best for me is when you finish a solo or piece on stage and the feeling of elation that this brings! Being proud of what you achieved.

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

There are too many to name. I love Skylar Brandt, she is absolutely beautiful.

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

This is tricky. I’ve received so much incredible advice from many teachers. One of my teachers once said to me to never compare myself to others but instead see what works for them and try to apply it because maybe it can help me improve

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

I think everything is so much easier to see in hindsight so who knows if my younger self would actually believe me but I think I would say that not everything has to be perfect all time. Things go wrong in performances and that’s ok, it’s always a work in progress

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

The sense of accomplishment when you finally mail something that you have been working hard on. On and off stage

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

Sometimes getting out of bed in the morning lol. Essentially, the insane fatigue you get sometimes/ all the 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”?

Oh absolutely. I think every dancer does. But as always, we get ourselves up and into the studio, work hard and hope that it will be different tomorrow or the next day. And eventually you always find that pure joy and fall in love all over again

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical. They are just so pretty. Although I adore the look of turns in a romantic

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

Unfortunately I have had my fair share of injuries. My ankles have always been lacking in strength which is something I’ve worked on constantly for many years now. And this weakness has lead to a number of posterior and anterior impingements of my ankles. But injuries are always a chance to get stronger and fitter, no matter how horrible they make us feel

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

Exploring Perth, swimming, watching Netflix of course, strengthening at the gym, hanging out with friends and roomies. Pretty boring stuff 😜

Q&A With American Ballerina Maddie Ward

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was 3!

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I’m currently in the PTD program at Ballet West

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

his will be my 8th year en pointe

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear Suffolk Spotlights!

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My mom took me to see Charlotte Ballet’s Nutcracker, and was on the edge of my seat during Waltz of the Flowers. I joined the academy right after.

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I love the Hungarian variation from Raymonda, and 3rd Shade from Bayadère

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

Any company that allows me to dance and perform for a living would be a dream! Some of my favorite companies include Ballet West, PNB, and Boston Ballet, to name a few.

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

Attending the Art&motion summer intensive was an amazing experience. I am so thankful for all I learned, and for being challenged both technically and artistically!

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

eckanne Sisk, Sara Mearns, Patricia McBride, Nayara M Lopes, Nikisha Fogo, and Marianela Nuñez (to name a few…the list is a long one!)

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

“Live within the layers of yourself…remember that you are a dancer, but to be a good artist, you have to experience life. You are more than just a dancer”. Also, “look at yourself like a scientist in the mirror. Remove emotional reactions to your reflection”.

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

There is no right way to be a dancer. You don’t have to look a certain way to be a ballerina. Do what you can with the beautiful body you have! Don’t sabotage your health to try and fit a mold of what you think you should be

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

I’m never satisfied! There’s always something new to explore or improve upon, and that’s an incredibly rewarding process

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

Same as the above…sometimes, knowing that you are never finished can be daunting. It’s hard to feel like you’ve accomplished anything or are making progress, so it’s easy to become frustrated. When I’m struggling with this, I remember why I dance, and focus on that joy and love instead of the frustration

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! Even now I sometimes have these thoughts. I allow myself to sit with these feelings when they do happen, but they’re always connected to me being frustrated with myself or my technique rather than my actual passion for dance and pursuit of it as a career. I love dance, and cannot imagine life without it

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Romantic tutu!

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

Yes…a few too many! Lots of ankle sprains, a chip fracture in my foot, and subluxation of my knee cap a few years ago (partial dislocation). I had to walk with a brace that didn’t allow me to bend my knee! Yikes!

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

I love to write, and am really interested in philosophy and social justice, as well as politics! I hope to pursue all of these things alongside ballet 🙂