Category: Ballet

Q&A With American Ballerina Kaya Jones

I had the opportunity recently to ask Kaya Jones some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Kaya is a fantastic dancer, she graces the stage with poise and grace. Her passion for ballet is incredible. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was 11, almost 12

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I dance at Idaho Regional Ballet.

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I’ve been en pointe for 4 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear Suffolk Spotlight!

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I used to do gymnastics and a local studio wanted tumblers for the Russian Nutcracker dance. After that, I fell in love with ballet

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I love Giselle’s variation in act 1 and the White Swan variation

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to work for any ballet company, but my dream is to dance with Ballet West in Salt Lake, City, Utah

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

Working in the studio with Peter Merz at my summer intensive last year. He was so inspiring and helped me gain a lot more confidence

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

Maria Khoreva and Beckanne Sisk. They are both so motivated and their passion shines through on stage

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

Average dancers don’t get jobs! It’s a little harsh to take, but it’s such valuable knowledge. You have to push yourself everyday. You need to be perfecting your technique and finding what makes you stand out even during barre work

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

Stay focused on yourself. Everyone has a different path in ballet, so don’t be distracted by anyone else

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

Being able to express things that go deeper than words

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

Keeping up your confidence. You’re going to have off days. You’re going to sit on the sidelines sometimes. There’s always going to be someone who is stronger and better. It’s how you use these things to motivate you to keep going

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 can’t imagine a day without dancing. Whenever I start to feel tired or burned out, I take some time to reset my mind and body so that I can be fresh and motivated back in the studio.

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical!

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

Have you ever suffered a serious injury? I struggled with stress fractures in my tibias last year

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

I love to be outside and hanging out with friends!

Q&A With American Ballerina Rachel Quiner

I had the opportunity to ask Rachel Quiner some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Rachel 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 when I was two years old

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently dancing at American Ballet Theatre’s JKO School in the Pre-Professional Division

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I’ve been on pointe for 7 years.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear the Grishko Nova pointe shoes

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My older sisters all did ballet and I just followed in their footsteps

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I love the Esmerelda variation

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to work for American Ballet Theatre or New York City Ballet.

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

I absolutely loved getting to perform Clara in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the Rockettes for 4 years

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

Tiler Peck & Isabella Boylston are my current inspirations

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

My teacher once said “Dance Every Combination like you’re doing Dew Drop” (one of my favorite roles)

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

Work your hardest every second and believe in yourself.

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

Performing in front of a live audience

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

Striving for perfection when no one is perfect

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! But you have to remember why you love dance

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Romantic 😉

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

I’ve never had a major injury, but as a dancer you always have little injurys here and there

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

I love vlogging for our YouTube Channel and baking.

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Poppi Eccleston

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started when I was 8

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I am dancing at the Dutch National Ballet Academy

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I’ve been on pointe for 5 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I am wearing energetiks/ Russian pointe

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I started with jazz and musical theatre then decided to give ballet a go

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I love all paquita variations

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to work for the Dutch national ballet company

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

Dancing at the Prix de Lausanne was by far my favourite dance memory

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

My biggest role model is Alessandra Ferri

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

This one’s hard… probably to be myself and put my own character into dance, that’s what directors want to see

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

Probably to not be so hard on myself all the time and love what I have and can do

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

The feeling I get being able to perform

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

Personally body struggles 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”?

Obviously days have been very hard but I don’t think I’ve ever really wanted to give up dancing

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Romantic tutu

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

Yes I have had a few ankle/feet injuries which have been quite a struggle

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

I love spending time with friends

Q&A With New Zealand Ballerina Amelie Watson

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started dance when I was about 4

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I dance at Dance Institute and next year I’ll be going to a full time ballet school

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I think I started when I was 11 so… 5 years now

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I switch between Grishko 2007s and Energetik Bellas

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

hmm I guess started taking classes and just got into it!

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

Probably Kitris wedding because it’s the first one I ever competed

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I’d love to work with the Royal New Zealand Ballet because I love Wellington and also the company is very diverse and family-like

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

I have a few little memories of when I’ve nailed a move or gotten into a school.

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

I love Skylar Brandt, and Katherine Morgan

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

hmm that one’s hard because all my teachers give me sooo much amazing advice!

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

Start working harder NOW instead of later and push yourself more! You can do anything if you work hard enough for it

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

I love the challenges and the feeling after doing a really long hard class. I love performing and also dancing alongside friends!

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

Probably missing out on a lot of normal teens social life and also the pressure us dancers put on our self’s to be perfect can be draining

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”?

To be honest I’ve had many days whee I’ve thought that but you gotta keep your head set on what you wanna do

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Romantic

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

Luckily no, only small ones

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

I spend most of my time dancing, doing school work or working at a cafe haha. But when I do occasionally get free time I love to hang out with friends and family, make yum food, exercise, and go outdoors!

Q&A With American Ballerina Ana Smith

I had the chance recently to ask Ana Smith some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Ana is a fantastic dancer, she graces the stage with poise and elegance, her passion 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?

Texas Ballet Theater School

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

5 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear Nikolay 3007’s

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My parents put me in ballet when I was four and as I’ve gotten older I’ve just fallen in love with it more and more!

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I really love Dulcinea and Giselle act 1

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I really like Houston Ballet and San Francisco ballet!

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

Being in Ben Stevenson’s Nutcracker every holiday season!

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

The dancer I look up to most is Marianela Nunez

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

Its just ballet, not brain surgery 🙂

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

Don’t be afraid to try new things, just go for it!

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

Performing! I enjoy it and I hope the people watching enjoy it as well.

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

Turns have always been a big challenge for me

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”?

To me this is a “normal” teenage life, I’ve done ballet my whole life and I wouldn’t want to have it any other way. Everyday I come to the studio I try to be better than myself the day before.

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

Nothing super serious, just some hip and knee things here and there.

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

I love to make jewellry!

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Siobhan Cooper

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

 Age 2 or 3 

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

VCASS The Victorian collage of the arts Secondary School 

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

 3 years 

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

Gaynor Minden 

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

Mum put me in dance classes and I loved moving 

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

La Bayadere, 3rd Shade Variation

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

Bolshoi Ballet, John Cranko 

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

Wining ATOD Vic and Australians in 2018 for ballet 

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

Svetlana Zaharova, Misty Copeland, Isobella Dashwood 

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

A quote my teach told me… Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. 

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

To be free and not blend in stand out and be yourself. Don’t be Shy. 

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

Being able to express your emotions through movement. 

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

Negativity from others or self confidence. 

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

No I have always dreamed of becoming a ballerina and I have always worked hard to achieve that.  

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical tutu 100%

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

No 

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

I have started a small business called fouetté blooms so I have been working on that. But I love to do lots of strengthening work.  

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Laura Hodgins

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was 2.5 years old, I have been dancing for roughly 11 years

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently dance at National College of Dance in Newcastle

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been en pointe for approximately 3 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

Currently I wear Bloch ‘Grace’ pointe shoes

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I first got involved in ballet as my older sister started dancing and it just looked like so much fun, and I really wanted to be apart of it.

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favourite variation would either have to be Lilac fairy from Sleeping Beauty or Kitri act III from Don Q

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to work at the Royal Ballet, Paris Opera, Aussie Ballet or Sydney dance company

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

One of my favourite memories in dance would have to be performing with the Imperial Russian Ballet when they came to Australia with ‘The Nutcracker’ in 2016

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

Marianela Núñez and Dusty Button

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

“you know the steps, now you just need to dance them”

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

“don’t worry about being the best, worry about being the best version of yourself”

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

The best thing about being a ballerina would have to be the opportunities it’s opens up for you, the important skills and traits it teaches you for life and most importantly the feeling of freedom and expression when dancing

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

I would say the hardest thing about being a ballerina is the ability to gain confidence in yourself when you are always in a competitive environment. For me it’s also not having the idolised super archy feet or 180 degree turnout, that most teachers, judges or examiners look for.

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 been times when I thought doing something else might be what I wanted, especially when I would be going through an injury, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve realised that dance is my passion and I cant see myself doing something non dance related in the future, I would simply miss it too much!

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical tutu

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

I have suffered serious posterior impingement injuries in both my ankles. I had surgery on 18 months ago to remove an extra bone from my right ankle and recently under went surgery, only a few days ago, for the same on my left

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

When I’m not dancing I love journaling and doing hand lettering. I also love riding horses, as my mum grew up with them and also baking yummy treats to fuel my body.

Q&A With American Ballerina Caroline Sowers

I had the opportunity recently to ask Caroline Sowers some questions about journey as a ballerina. Caroline is a phenomenal dancer, she graces 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 when I was three!

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I am training at San Diego Academy of Ballet as well as the University of Utah’s ballet program

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

Over 7 years! I went on pointe when I was 10.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear Russian Pointe Rubins!

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My mom put me ballet classes, and I loved it!

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

There are so many beautiful ones, but my favorites are Esmeralda and the Raymonda dream variation.

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I attended Tulsa Ballet’s summer intensive last year, and I would absolutely love to be a part of Tulsa Ballet! But it would be a dream to dance with any company!

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

One of my most special memories is dancing Sugar Plum Fairy last year in the Nutcracker!

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

One of my role models is Lori Hernández, who graduated from my studio and danced with Oklahoma City Ballet. Other dancers that inspire me are Evgenia Obraztsova, Maria Khoreva and Alina Somova

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

My teacher, Sylvia Tchernychev, has given me so much advice over the years. One piece of advice was to look at good smaller companies because I could have more opportunities to dance

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

I would tell a younger version of myself to relax and focus on the exercises during class. I would be so negative with myself about the things I couldn’t do or what I saw in the mirror, and instead I should have put that energy into working as hard as a could!

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

The best thing is being able to perform onstage in solos or pas de deuxs! Performing in roles such as Sugar Plum and Paquita is magical, and the feeling onstage is pure happiness!

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

The hardest thing for me is class. That is mostly where I can feel like I’m not good enough. Because I am just focusing on technique, I often don’t enjoy class as much as rehearsals where I feel like I can really 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”?

I have never wanted to quit, but I sometimes had days when I was younger where I felt like I wasn’t improving and just wanted a break from staring at myself in the mirror

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

I think both are gorgeous, but I have to say classical!

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

Thankfully I have not

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

In my free time I like to read, watch a movie or spend time with family and friends!

Q&A With American Ballerina Sophia Jiang

I had the chance recently to ask Sophia Jiang some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Sophia is a fantastic dancer, she takes to the stage with great 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

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I dance at The Conservatory of FWCD, and FWCD Ballet(FWCD=Fort Worth Country Day)

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been en pointe for a year and 3 months

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear Russian Pointe muses! (love them!)

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I was forced into it when I was three, and now I love doing ballet!

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

Kitri Act 1, Esmerelda, and the Talisman

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to work at American Ballet Theatre in NYC!

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

My favorite memory would probably be getting pointe shoes and getting into the ABT SI NY for 2 years!

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

Dancers that inspire me are Zimmi Coker, Queen Shevy(Christine Shevchenko), Roberto Bolle, and Cassandra Trenary

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

Don’t beat yourself up if you mess up

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

Don’t get angry at yourself if you mess up, and listen to your body.

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

Since ballet is versatile it helps in everything! Music, challenges the mind, and makes you exercise.

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

There is a mental and physical strain. Mentally there is the thought of not being good enough and asking yourself, “Why did I do it wrong?” physically it strains your body and makes you have a certain amount of time to dance.

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

Yes, there have been those days when you are frustrated with yourself. You may even miss lots of memorable events in life (like dances)

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical tutu all the way!

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

No injuries so far, (*knocks on wood).

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

In my free time I love helping out at my parents restaurants(we own 4), reading, and playing piano/cello.

Q&A With American Ballerina Michelle Quiner

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was 2 years old.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I’m in American Repertory Ballet’s Second Company

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been on pointe for 12 years.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear Grishko pointe shoes

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My mom thought I would look cute in a leotard and tights, so she put me into ballet.😊

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favorite variation is the Giselle Act 1 variation, and La Esmeralda

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to someday be in American Ballet Theatre’s company!

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

One of my favorite moments was getting the call from our Ballet Master at American Repertory Ballet, Ian Hussey, saying that I was going to be promoted to the second company!

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

My ballet role models are: Ulyana Lopatkina, Irina Dvorovenko, Skylar Brandt, and Catherine Hurlin

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

The best advice I’ve received from a teacher is: Focus on your strengths and the things that make you stand out as a dancer. Highlight those things instead of focusing on what you don’t have

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

Advice I’d give to a younger version of myself: Hard work will always beat talent. Determination and drive are the most important tools you need to make it as a ballerina. Never give up.

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

I think the best thing about being a ballerina is getting to perform for people. It is the best feeling in the world to get to share my emotions through movement with an audience.

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

The hardest thing about being a ballerina is that we are constantly striving for perfection. Because of that, it can get discouraging at times. But I think that’s also what makes ballet exciting. If we reached a point where everything was perfect, it would be so boring!

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”?

Ballet is hard work, but I would never give it up. It has taught me so much about discipline, determination, and dedication

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Romantic tutu

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

I’m very lucky that I have not suffered from a serious injury

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

I like to bake and crochet in my free time.😊