Q&A With Australian Ballerina Taliya Bennett

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet at 6 years old

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently dance in Sydney, Australia at classical ballet 121

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I started pointe at 11 and am now 16 so about 5 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear energetics pointe shoes, (otherwise known as Russian pointes)

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

Some of my friends were taking classes and I really wanted to as well, I was a very quiet and shy child so I loved ballet because I didn’t have to speak to anyone and just focus on doing everything correctly

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favourite variation would have to be either sugar plum fairy or Raymonda

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to work for Staataballett Berlin, English National Ballet or the Royal Ballet

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

One of my favourite memories was learning the sugar plum fairy 3 weeks before performing and getting on stage doing my absolute best

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

My first ballet role model was Benedict Bemet from the Australian ballet, I remember going to watch them perform and being so mesmerised by her face and how she presented herself

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

That not all of dancing is about how well you perform physically and that so much of it is your mental state

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

Not to worry about what other people think of you, to come out of my shell and just dance because I love it

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

I love how challenging ballet is, that you could have always done something better and that how much you improve is a direct reflection on how hard you have worked

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

Not getting caught up in worrying about the future, being a perfectionist can also sometimes be challenging as you never feel that you did something well enough

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, sure it does get hard sometimes but I wouldn’t want to do anything else

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

I love both but romantic tutus look beautiful when they move around with your body

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

I am actually recovering from an injury right now, the muscles around my shins are very inflamed and I do have a little bone stress down the front of my shins

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

I love to go for bush walks, go swimming or listen to music…I probably spend most of my free time on Spotify.

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Trinity Andaloro

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I was 5 years old when I started ballet.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently dance at Queensland National Ballet

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been on pointe for 4 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear Grishko 2007s

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I first got involved in ballet because I was always a very energetic kid and mum put in ballet class and I loved it

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favourite variation is Kitri act III

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to work for a contemporary company, Sydney dace company

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

My favourite memory was my first pointe class

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

My ballet role model is Misty Copeland

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

My best advice i have ever received is ‘dance for yourself and no one else, don’t compare yourself’

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

‘Don’t be to fixated on things you cant change’

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

Getting to do what you love everyday and learning new things everyday

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

The hardest thing is working hard and feeling like you have gotten nothing from it even though you have

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”?

Absolutely yes, but I kept going and I’m so glad I did

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical tutu

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

I have, when I was 13 I had a stress fracture in my second metatarsal in my growth plate and I was in a boot for 4 months

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

I am ALWAYS dancing but when I’m not I’m usually with my friends or family or shopping

Q&A With American Ballerina Emma Garrison

I had the opportunity recently to ask Emma Garrison some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Emma is an excellent dancer, she graces the stage with incredible poise and grace, her love ballet is amazing. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was 3, but didn’t start training pre-professionally until I was about 12 years old

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I’m a member of the Junior Ballett with Ballett Dortmund in Germany

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I started dancing en pointe when I was 9 years old, so it has been 10 years since I slipped on the first pair.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear customized Freed Classics made by the wonderful wineglass maker, who I have been wearing for years

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

Ever since I was little, I have wanted to be a dancer. “Ballet” was actually my second word I ever spoke, and since I learned it I didn’t stop asking to take classes until the dance teacher at my local studio finally let me start. My sisters took classes, and I’m sure seeing the pink tutus and ballet slippers is what started my obsession

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

This is a hard one, as there are so many I love to dance, but if I had to choose one I would say the 4th variation from Divertimento No. 15 by George Balanchine. I love the the way the movement feels in my body, and the energy from the music makes it an especially joyous variation to dance. Plus, it was the variation I chose to film for my auditions, and the one that got me my first job!

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

My dream at the moment is to dance for the Vienna State Ballet. I admire so many dancers from the company, and the repertoire is exactly in line with what I’d like to be dancing throughout my career. They have a wonderful mix of classical and neoclassical, as well as contemporary, and living in Vienna doesn’t sound half bad either

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

My favorite memory so far was my first show of Nutcracker with Miami City Ballet. I had worked very hard from the previous year to get the opportunity to perform with the company, and was especially excited because I was performing snow, flowers, and Spanish on opening night. I remember being backstage and having to hold back tears because all my hard work had paid off, and I was going to spend my favorite holiday season dancing away and bringing joy to so many.

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

Marianela Nuñez is my ultimate ballet inspiration. Her dynamic yet graceful movement is something I aspire to, and I can’t help but get lost in the story when she is the one telling it. She is one of the few dancers I can watch without thinking about her technique or the choreography she is doing, and just fully enjoy watching

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

The best advice I ever received was from a teacher at Miami City Ballet School by the name of Francis Veyette. One of his lessons he taught us was to never play the victim status. You are in control of your body, your emotions, and your reactions, and to think otherwise is to do oneself an injustice

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

I would tell myself, and all young dancers, to start dancing for yourself, and only yourself, each and everyday. As you get older and attention from teachers starts to oscillate, it is most important to enjoy the work itself, not just the reaction from the teacher it may or may not incite. This also allows you to separate yourself from corrections. Now I only think if a class, audition, rehearsal, or performance was good enough for myself, not the teacher or director, or whomever may be at the front of the room. If you hold yourself to your own standards, you will never feel unfulfilled

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

The best thing about being a ballerina is, quite simply, being a ballerina. I love absolutely everything about it, from doing my hair, to the first step at barre, to performing on stage. I love the community that surrounds me each and everyday, and the common struggles we all face that we can help one another through. To be able to say I am a ballerina brings me joy like nothing else can

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

The hardest thing about being a dancer is doing the work on the days when you’d rather stay in bed. I don’t mean when you’re sick, or injured, or there’s something preventing you from taking class, but the days where it’s rainy and your back hurts and you just want to stay under the sheets and watch movies all day. Though its always the most difficult to get up and moving on days like this, I find them to be the most rewarding days, where I am truly proud of myself for accomplishing the work despite my reluctance. I always say that one’s strength is measured by what they are able to accomplish when they aren’t feeling up to the task

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 I did! However, for me it was never the work that intimidated me. I have always craved hard work, it’s in my nature. The difficulty was choosing between a normal life, and the one I was pursuing. I wanted to go to class, have boyfriends, go to dances and sleepovers and parties; with a pre-professional schedule, this was impossible. I have always been a very social person, and extremely passionate about learning and discussion, so choosing between what I wanted to do and what I was meant to do was the most emotionally straining part of my life. For any young dancers going through this, just know that it’s absolutely normal and even healthy to question your convictions, and to trust that in the end you will do what is best for yourself.

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

I love a classical tutu, but not the big huge pancake tutus one might see in Don Quixote or Swan Lake – I prefer shorter tutus commonly referred to as “bell tutus.”

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

I have had several serious injuries that have put me out for weeks at a time, but the hardest and most serious one was a major hip repair surgery I had when I was 16. The surgeon told my mom I was never going to dance again, but instead of telling me that which would have ruined my determined mindset, she kept it from me and sent me to intensive physical therapy, and here I am now more flexible, with no pain, and a wonderful career ahead of me!

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

In my free time I do university classes with Indiana University, because as I mentioned before I am an avid learner. I am a self-proclaimed yogi and practice yoga 2-3 times a week for my mind and body, and I love to read, cook, and indulge in some TV when I’m too tired to do anything except lay on the couch. I also have a wonderful group of friends with me here in Germany, and of course I spend as much time with them as I can in between everything. Travel is another thing I love to do, and luckily here in Europe, so many wonderful places and experiences are only a train ride away.

Q&A With Mongolian Contortionist Khongorzul Bayarmagnai

I had the pleasure of asking Khongorzul Bayarmagnai some questions about her journey and experiences as a contortionist. She amazes the audience with her incredible flexibility and skills. She has been able to honor the long tradition of showcasing the ancient Mongolian art form around the world. Below are her responses.

Q1: How long have done contortion for?

9 years (from 12 y.old i start very old than other)

Q2: How did you start contortion?

I was very flexible

Q3: How often do you train and for how long?

Normal time 4-5 day a week, for 2-4 hours (but now quarantine time 1-2 day for a week for only 1 hour)

Q4: What is your favourite contortion move/trick?

1 hand, archery and be on the top

Q5: What has been your best contortion experience?

Be forbearance

Q6: What is your ultimate contortion goal/dream?

Learn university during contortion work

Q7: Best advise you’ve received?

Momentum is health

Q8: What does a usual day of training look like?

Easy

Q9: What is your preparation for a performance?

Warm up, contortion table, music

Q10: What or who is your biggest motivator in contortion?

My hobby

Q11: What goes through your head when you’re doing a contortion performance?

Up and look directly

Q12: Do you get nervous? How do you overcome your nerves?

I get nervous very easy. I think inside and be noisy or discuss with my best friend for overcome my nervous

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Layla Gerrish

I had the opportunity recently to ask Layla Gerrish some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Layla 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 started ballet at the age of five

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I am in between dance schools at the moment. I have just finished dancing with Premiere Studios on the Central Coast NSW and am about to start Pre Professional training with Ellison Ballet in New York

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I started dancing en pointe when I turned 11. So 5 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear Ganor Minden pointe shoes

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My first ever dance class was a ballet class. I fell in love with it straight away

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I love lots of different variations for different reasons. Some of my favourites include; Paquita Variation 1, Aurora, Esmeralda, Giselle, Raymonda Dream Variation and Gamzatti Temple Variation

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

This is a really hard question because there are so many great companies I would love to dance for. I think I will just trust that if I’m lucky enough to be offered a job in a company then that will be the right company for me at that moment in time

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

My favourite memory / most memorable moment in ballet would have to be dancing in the YAGP finals in New York in 2019. It was such an incredible, eye opening experience

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

My dance friends at Premiere Studios inspired me everyday. Watching them learn, grow and achieve on a daily basis has helped me become the dancer I am today. Other inspirational ballerinas include Darcey Bussle, Marianela Núñez, Lauren Lovettte, Skylar Brandt, Thomas Dilley and Jolie Lombardo

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

“Go out on stage and enjoy yourself”

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

The advice I would give to my younger self would be to trust in the process and to believe that whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re probably right

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

There are so many things I love about being a ballerina. I love the challenge, I love that it’s different, I love being around like minded people, I love dancing on a stage and I love connecting with the audience and making people smile

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

One of the hardest things about ballet is that perfection is almost impossible to achieve. There is always something that needs improving or changing

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’ve never really had a point in my life when I wished I was a “normal teenager”. I love being different. That’s one of my favourite things about ballet. I am very grateful I am able to dance everyday. So when things get a little tough I just remind myself of how lucky I am

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical tutu

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

Yes, I fractured my foot last year when my mum accidentally reversed over it in the car. 🤦‍♀️

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

I live near the beach so in my free time I love to surf and swim. I also love water skiing and wake boarding.😊

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Ella Conroy

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

When I was 2 years old

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

Previously Queensland National Ballet School, I had to leave full time due to medical conditions so I now do drop in classes where I can

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

Since 2012, 8 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

Grishko 2007s

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My grandmother owns a studio, so I was born into the dance world

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

Aurora act 3

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I never really had a company in mind, but NYCB used to be my dream one

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

My favourite memories were just to be able to forget about my worries in life and express myself in ballet, but seeing NYCB perform nutcracker is pretty high up there 🙂

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

Katie Morgan has always been my favourite ballerina and I’m so glad that she’s spreading her message to the world at this point in time especially

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

Ballet is like maths, it’s a combination of exact positions and technique to achieve the coveted end result

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

Your mental and physical health have to come before ballet, as hard as that decision is to make sometimes

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

Working and improving everyday to get one step closer to this lifelong goal

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

Taking care of your mental health, and learning that life exists outside of ballet, even though it might not seem like it

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 never wanted to quit to pursue an easier career, but I always had this ongoing battle in my head between going with my heart and choosing ballet and going with my head and choosing a medical career

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

I suffer from many chronic mental health conditions and a few physical ones too, unfortunately my Tietze Syndrome ended up being the one that forced me to quit my full time school

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

I love to teach myself new things! I’m studying pre-med and multiple languages at the moment, and I absolutely love to play the piano too 🙂

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Zoe Lam

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet at age 13

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently dance at Pevnev Ballet Academy, Perth WA

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 currently wear Gaynor Minden pointe shoes

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I first got involved in ballet as I wanted to be part of a performing arts school’s selective program and I had to take ballet to be able to audition!

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I love so many variations but my top 2 would have to be Gamzatti and Tchaikovsky pas de deux!

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

Honestly, I’d love to dance for any company that wants me and loves me for who I am! Some of my favourite companies that I’d love to be a part of are Pacific Northwest Ballet, Alonzo King LINES, Sydney Dance Company, Netherlands Dance Theatre and Staatsoper Hannover.

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

Ballet is filled with so many incredible memories but some of my favourites would have to be the moment when you step on stage and when you finally achieve something you’ve been working on. The feeling of your music starting as you step on stage is like no other, adrenaline pumping and electricity pulsing through your body! The relief and reward that comes with mastering something that you’ve worked so hard for is truly AMAZING. It makes everything so worth it!

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

My biggest ballet role models would have to be Marianela Nunez, Claire Calvert and Misty Copeland. They all have such beautiful upper bodies and artistry, Allowing them to truly capture the essence of ballet

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

The best advice I’ve ever received from a teacher is to “take what works for you and leave the rest!” In a world where we are constantly overloaded with information, it’s important to understand and realise that not everything works for everyone. Although every teacher will have different ways of teaching and explaining, not ever teacher’s method will work for you. If it doesn’t work listen understand and be mature enough to know that it doesn’t work for you. This doesn’t mean it’s wrong but it just isn’t the right thing for you! It allows you to have more space to take in and perfect what works for you!

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

The advice I’d give to a younger version of myself is to “not lose sight of what you love!” As someone who started ballet quite late, I really felt the pressure of trying to improve exponentially. I was taking class with girls who were 4 or 5 years younger than me and although it was definitely the right thing for me, I felt almost defeated. I didn’t look like them because I was so much older and my body had started taking shape and I was at the same level as them despite being fat older! In those moments I felt like I lost sight of what I loved and instead became so consumed by the way I looked and all of the things that were wrong with me and my technique.

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

The best thing about being a ballerina is always having something to work towards! Nothing in ballet comes easy and I love having challenges to work towards!

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

The hardest thing about being a ballerina is definitely the self criticism and perfectionism. It is so difficult to look at yourself in a mirror for 8 hours a day picking yourself apart so that you can improve! It highlights flaws and increases insecurities, all in the pursuit of perfection!

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

Ballet is so mentally and physically exhausting so I’ve definitely had days where I thought it would just be easier to give up but my love for the art form and love of the freedom and Release that it gives means truly helped me to grow to love ballet even more!

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

As much as I love a classical pancake tutu, I just love the feel of a romantic tutu and I’m a really sucker for a romantic ballet! I love their quaint and beautiful personalities and postures!

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

I don’t think I’ve ever had a “serious” injury but I’ve had my fair share of niggles! My worst injury was probably breaking my foot mid ballet exam and then completing the rest of the exam completely unaware that I’d broken my foot! It definitely came as a shock when we got to pointe work and my foot was so swollen that I couldn’t fit it into my shoe! Made for a laugh afterwards but it really was a miracle that I had so much adrenaline pumping through me that I barely felt the pain! It took 8 weeks in a moon boot and a lot of rehab mixed with slow recovery but I came back stronger and more determined than ever.

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

When I’m not dancing I love baking, reading and studying! I am an avid procrasti-baker and love the methodical precision of baking. Reading for me is such an escape and I love getting to explore far off lands and deep dive into people’s lives without leaving the comfort of my bed! As strange as it may sound I also love studying! I’m currently undertaking a bachelor in Psychology because I love learning and studying! There is something about learning new information and thinking about things deeply that is so comforting to me. Being able to expand my mind makes me feel so free!

Q&A With Australian Ballerina @Jadeellie.ballet

I had the chance recently to ask Jade some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Jade is an amazing dancer, she graces the stage with elegance and poise. Her love for ballet is incredible. 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 train fulltime at Danceworks Sydney in Darlington

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been en pointe for a little over 6 years!

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I have been wearing Gaynor Mindens for almost 2 years now and I don’t think I have found a shoe that suits my foot any better

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I was only 2 when my mum and dad wanted me and my brother to do something active so she put me in a ballet class so I grew up doing it. However when I was 10 I really started to love it and I decided I wanted to take it serious and hopefully make it my career on day

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

There are so many that I love but I would have to say my favourite is Swanilda Act 1

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I have always loved and dreamed about working with the American ballet theatre (ABT) but also, after attending American Repertory Ballet/Princeton Ballets summer school in 2019 I fell in love with there company and the staff there so that would be at the top of my list as well!

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

I love being on the stage and anytime I perform it brings such happiness to me but the one moment that really made me love it was when I completed 20 consecutive turns from fifth position and when I got to about 15 the audience started cheering and it made me really know that this is what I loved to do

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

The dancers that inspire me the most are definitely my teachers at Danceworks! They are all so supportive and always push me to do my very best and give everything my all. Another dancer that has inspired me incredibly was an older girl who now dancers with the Australian Ballet named Sara Andrlon. She was like a big sister to me growing up and I learnt so much from her.

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

The best advice I have received is to show my emotions and what I am feeling through my dancing and to always dance like it’s the last time I’m ever going to dance

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

I would definitely tell my younger self to not let people get into your head and just dance for yourself

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

By far the best thing about being a ballerina is getting to perform and make people happy. I always love making people feel good and I love seeing people happy after I have performed for them

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

The hardest thing about being a ballerina is different for every dancer but for me I would have to say the hardest thing is the mentality of a dancer. We always wanna be improving and gaining more strength so when something like an injury happens it causes great sadness and really effects how a dancer thinks

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 has been times where I would look at my friends outside of dancing and see them going to parties and having all kinds of fun, but I have never thought to stop dancing because I simply love it too much, I can barely get through a one week break without having the urge to dance until my legs give out

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Honestly, it depends what mood I’m in but typically it’s classical

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

Unfortunately I have, I have dislocated both my knees (right twice and left once) It was one of the hardest things I have had to face but my knees are getting stronger everyday!

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

I love to shop! I also love to read, going to dinners with my mum and dad, spending time with my friends and I love watching movies.

Q&A With New Zealand Ballerina Zara Daisy

I had the opportunity recently to ask Zara Daisy some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Zara is an excellent dancer, she takes to the stage with grace and elegance. Her love for ballet is phenomenal. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I originally started ballet when I was 2, but hated so much that I quit, but after watching my sister dance I really wanted to try it out again at a different studio. So I did and absolutely loved. ( I was ten at the time when I started back up)

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I dance with Fiona Haines dance Academy and I am also a scholar and associate with New Zealand school of dance

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been en pointe for 2 years now

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I am currently wearing Capezio Donatella and I love them so much

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I first got involved with ballet by watching my sister at her end of year show and that was when I decided I was going to be a ballerina and dance on stage in front of thousands of people

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I love the variation Pharaoh’s daughter because the music is so gorgeous I could honestly listen to it all day! And the dance is so much fun to do and look so elegant from the audience. ( I have too do two parts to this message but it’s too long to send in one)

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to dance in any company but if I got to choose I would definitely dance with the Royal Ballet. I would love to dance with the Royal Ballet because the first ever ballet I watched was from the royal ballet so being able to dance there would me feel like I truly have accomplished my dream

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

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

My ballet role model would definitely be Maria Khovera because not only is she amazing but she started dancing professionally with the Mariinsky Theatre when she was only 18 years old

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

The best advice I’ve received from a teacher would probably be “ things don’t just change over night it takes time! So even if you only improve 1% each day by the end of the year you’ve improved 365%”

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

Some advice I’d give my younger sled would probably be “ you don’t have to dance everyday, you are allowed days off to rest your body” I would tell myself this because last year I would always be doing as much ballet as I could but it was only making me more tired, so I wasn’t improving

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

The best thing about being a ballerina would be all the hard work that goes into your dancing because the feeling of accomplishing your goals and dreams is the best feeling in the world and makes dancing so much more enjoyable

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

The hardest thing about being a ballerina would probably be those days where you feel like everything is going wrong. Those are the days we’re I compare myself to others and think how come the are so talented and I’m not

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 most definitely did and still do “when you have bad days you just need to learn to rest and not quit because there are going to be better days.” When ever I have bad days I always think about this quote and it really helps me

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

I love classical tutus because they are so beautiful on stage and make me feel like I’m a proper ballerina when I wear them

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

I have not suffered from a bad injury! The worst injury I’ve had was when I broke my finger doing a pirouette! But lucky for me the recovery didn’t stop me from dancing

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

In my free time I love to go on bike rides with my siblings especially going on the BMX track!

Q&A With American Ballerina Erica Borden

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

? I started dancing at 3, did all styles until I was 8 years old, and then I focused on ballet and contemporary

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I dance at The Art of Classical Ballet in Pompano Beach, Florida

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

About 7 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

Repetto

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My parents and teachers could see that I could feel a connection to ballet when I was younger. It made me so happy. I started asking about taking more ballet classes

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I don’t really have a favorite, because I like to experiment with different characters. Currently I’m learning Pharoh’s daughter, and it’s a lot of fun

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to work for Ballet West, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Complexions or Netherlands Dans Theater. I love ballet and contemporary, so I would be happy working for many companies

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

I really loved performing the Arabian Pas De Deux in the Florida Classical Ballet Nutcracker. The costume is awesome. It makes me happy the response I get at the end of the show from audience members

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

Marianela Núñez is my professional dancer role model. I love how she performs and she really feels the music and the character she is playing. Chloe Albaret of NDT inspires me in contemporary dance

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

My mentor, Olivier Pardina, has given me the best advice for so many years. I learned to stay true to the art and passion for classical ballet and to take time to revisit the very basics at all stages of training

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

Drink more water. I’ve gotten very dehydrated before when I was younger, and it’s not a good experience! I’m still working on it

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

Performing and learning to play new characters is the best thing about being a ballerina

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

I wish I had more control of my career like I would in other careers. We can feel like we can’t control our future. We can be our best, put in the work, peform well, work consistently, have real passion for ballet, and not get a chance to work. In other careers, when you have that, you can usually get work doing what you want somewhere. We have so many factors that impact our future and the things other careers don’t have to focus on. Height, size, a “look”, politics, money, and just luck. Unpredictable career, but worth a try if you really love it!

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”?

At times the thought comes up when I want to spend time with my non-dance friends. I do have some amazing friends since 6th grade that I’ve made because of ballet. I think we are so busy that we miss a lot of negative parts of being a “normal teenager”. It’s worth it. Balance is important so we don’t burn out. I still find a little time for normal teenage fun. It’s healthy.

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical!

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

Thankful that I haven’t had any serious injuries

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

I like being with my friends, going to car shows, driving around, being creative and getting rid of stress. I also have a job working at a law office for a lawyer who is also a dancer, dance teacher and danced professionally!