Q&A With American Ballerina Vanessa Meikle

I recently asked Vanessa Meikle some questions about her journey as a ballerina. She is an incredible dancer, she graces the stage with real poise and beauty, her passion and dedication to ballet is amazing. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was 6 years old but did gymnastic and other little dance classes when I was younger than that.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently train at the Hartt School Community Division

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been on pointe since I was almost 11, so 5 years.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, they work so well for me!

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I first got involved in ballet because I was in gymnastics, and they told my mom I was too long and didn’t have enough upper body strength so I should try ballet :).

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favorite variation I have performed is either the Swanilda Act 3 variation from Copelia, or Gamzatti from La Bayadere. My favorite variation of all time is La Cigarette!

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

My dream company is the Mariinsky or Bolshoi, but in America I would love to dance for ABT.

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

My favorite memory is when I realized that working hard accomplished something. I realized you can’t get anywhere if you don’t work for it.

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

Dancers that inspire me are Daria Ionova, Maria Katchkova, Ulyana Lopatkina, and Isabella Boylston.

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

The best advice I have ever received from a teacher was to look at yourself in the mirror every morning and say “I am a prima ballerina”. It’s so cheesy, but it helps give yourself confidence and the ability to perform like you really are a principle dancer.

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

I like both, but romantic tutus are prettier in my opinion. Classical tutus give a stronger vibe though.

Q12: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?

I like to listen to music, and teach myself piano. I also love poetry, but most of all in my free time I go over choreography and watch youtube videos about ballet. I love the Russian documentaries and Kathryn Morgan 🙂

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Breigh-Ellen Marie

I recently had the opportunity to ask Breigh-Ellen Marie some questions about her journey as a ballerina. She is wonderful dancer, she graces the stage with poise and grace. Her dedication to ballet is immense. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was 2

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

The McDonald College

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

4 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

Grishko

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My family owned a local ballet studio so I was placed into classes as soon as I could walk

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

Odile’s solo

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

Bolshoi, ABT anywhere good really

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

Performing the 1st shade solo in my school’s pre professional production of La Bayadere and completing all the releves for once😂

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

Svetlana Zakharova

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

To work with what you have

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical

Q12: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?

Reading and spending all my money

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Kimberley Glover

I had the pleasure of asking Kimberley Glover some questions about her journey as a ballerina. She is a fantastic ballerina with an incredible dedication and passion for ballet. Below are her answers

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started dancing when I was 3yrs old

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I dance at the McDonald college

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I’ve been on pointe for about 4yrs

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear Grishko 2007 pointe shoes

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I would always dance around the house when I was younger

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My Favourite variation would have to be Aurora act 3

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to work for either English national or Hamburg ballet John Neumeier in Dresden

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

My best memory would be performing at the opera house with all my friends

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

I’ve always loved Madeleine Eastoe and Amy Harris I also love Sylvie Guillem and Ruby Tear

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

Best advice would probably be when I my teacher said don’t compare yourself to social media just compare yourself with you because your, your best competition

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical tutu

Q12: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?

I love going to the beach and shopping

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Taylah Small

I recently had the chance to ask Taylah Small some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Taylah dances so elegantly with poise and beauty. Her dedication to dance is incredible. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started dancing when I was 2 years old

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently dance with The West Australian School if Dance

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I’ve been en pointe for almost eight years now

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear Gaynor Minden pointe shoes

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I saw ballerinas on the TV one day and from that moment on I decided I was going to be one too

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favourite variation has always been Kitri from don Q

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to work for the Australian ballet company and I’ve actually got a week secondment with them which I’ll be doing very soon!

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

Right before I go on stage I do that stage warm up that sharpay from high school musical does and for some reason it always makes me dance better😂

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

My teachers and classmates are my biggest role models and inspire me everyday

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

Best advice I’ve ever received from a teacher was to stop overthinking and start enjoying

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical tutu

Q12: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?

When I’m not dancing I love writing and going on adventures

Q&A With American Ballerina Abby Zinsser

I recently had the opportunity to ask Abby Zinsser some questions about her experience and journey as a ballerina. She is an amazing dancer, she graces the stage with real poise, grace and presence. Abby’s dedication to ballet is unmatched. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started dancing at the age of 2, but I didn’t train seriously until age 8.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I am currently a Trainee with The Nashville Ballet.

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I was 11 when I started pointe, so about 8 years.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear Bloch Hannahs.

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

According to my mom, I watched the Barbie Nutcracker movie one Christmas and would ask her every single day when I could start taking ballet classes. And I’ve been dancing ever since.

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

Cupid variation from Don Quixote, Flames of Paris, and I also recently performed the Paquita variation and fell in love with it.

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

Ever since I came to my first summer intensive at The Nashville Ballet back in 2014, I knew I wanted to be apart of this particular company. It has been such an honor to have had the opportunity to train there for the past two years and try to make that dream a reality.

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

One of the bet feelings I have ever had was having the opportunity to perform Paquita in Nashville Ballet’s Academy showcase. It was my first big principle role and it really pushed me to be the dancer that I am today.

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

Isabella Boylston, Maria Kochetkova, and Nashville Ballet company dancer Mollie Sansone

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

One of the best things that a teacher has told me is to understand that things are going to go wrong; in class and onstage. The smart dancers know how to mask those mistakes and most importantly move on from them.

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical

Q12: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?

I love to knit. I make all sorts of leg warmers and ankle warmers; and I actually just finished my first pair of socks. I also like to watch movies with my boyfriend.

Q&A With Canadian Ballerina Emma Keyes

I recently had the pleasure of asking Canadian ballerina Emma Keyes some questions about her journey as a ballerina. She dances with incredible beauty and joy while on stage. Emma graces the stage with incredible poise and grace. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet at age of 3

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

and I am currently dancing at the Academy of ballet and Jazz, Canadian Ballet Theatre.

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been on pointe for roughly 4 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear Bloch European balance strong (the strongest shank) XXX size 6

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My mom put me into ballet just for fun, but as the years progressed I realized how much I love it

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favourite variation is definitely the pretty variation

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to work for La Scala, in Milan

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

I have many favourite memories that I treasure in dance.

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

Svetlana Zakharova is definitely an inspiration to me

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

The best advice I’ve received from any teacher, is to always trust yourself. When you are confident, you will perform at your best ability

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

I love both classical and romantic tutus, but I prefer romantic even though both are stunning

Q12: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?

In my free time, I love drawing, singing, acting, playing guitar, basically anything involved in the arts!

Q&A With American Ballerina Isabella Rasmussen

I recently had the opportunity to ask Isabella Rasmussen some questions about her journey as a ballerina. She is a wonderful dancer who graces the stage with real poise and elegance. Her dedication is incredible. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was about 3 years old.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I am currently a part of Ballet West Academys Proffesional Training Division.

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

This is my fifth year on pointe.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I am in Freed Classic Pros at the moment and I love them!

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My mom did ballet, and she taught ballet, so naturally I was put in.

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favorite variation right now is probably My One and Only from Balanchines Who Cares!

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to dance with PNB.

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

I love performing! Pretty basic but I love the energy that comes with the performances!

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

I love Leta Biasucci from PNB!

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

Probably that ballet class is for sucking and its okay to fail!

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical!

Q12: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?

I’m a big bunhead so I watch a ton of ballet videos, but I also like to bake, knit, and spend time with my family!

Q&A With American Ballerina Lauryn Brown

I recently had the joy of asking Lauryn Brown some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Lauryn is an amazing dancer, she dances so elegantly with poise, her dedication to ballet is incredible and without a doubt she’ll inspire the next generation ballerinas. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet at around 5 years old.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I dance at Master Ballet Academy.

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I started pointe at 11 years old, so it’s been about 4 years.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear Grishko pointe shoes, and recently switched to the 2007 model.

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I first got involved in ballet because I begged my mom to take me when I was 4 years old. She had no idea that I would still be doing it years later!

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favorite variation to watch is Aurora’s Wedding variation, but my favorite to dance usually changes based on my mood.

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to dance for the Royal Ballet or American Ballet Theatre

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

My favorite memory in ballet was my first time performing a variation, at YAGP in 2017.

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

My first ballet role model was Misty Copeland, because she was the first African American ballerina I had seen in a major company.

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

I think that some of my best advice came from Rasta Thomas, who told me that staring in the mirror is one of the worst things you can do as a student. Many of us get caught up in the mirror and try to evaluate how we look, but we also have to remember that our teachers’ job is to correct us!

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

I love classical tutus!

Q12: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?

When I’m not dancing, I like to cook, or hang out with my friends.

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Mackenzie Coombe

I recently had the opportunity to ask Mackenzie Coombe some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Mackenzie is an amazing dancer, she graces the stage with real poise and beauty. Her passion and dedication to ballet is unmatched. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet at 6 years old.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

Currently I dance at a small studio in Far North Queensland. Approximately 2-4 hours per day five days a week

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I started pointe three years ago when I was 12.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear Energetiks Sapfir (I love them so much)

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I was an incredibly shy child so my mum decided to put me into dancing. I would sit in the corner and cry, one day mum took me to a different studio and after that the rest is history

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

Where I currently live there is no opportunity to perform variations at a competition level. But I love learning variations in the studio and teaching them to myself. My favourite variations are Dulcinea and Cupid from Don Quixote, Swanhilda Variation Act 1  Coppelia, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux female variation, Swan Lake Odile variation and many many more. These are just a few of my favourites.

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to work for any company as long as I am doing what I love. But a few of my favourites are ABT, Royal Ballet, Houston Ballet, Australian Ballet and Paris Opera.

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

Honestly my favourite moment in ballet is when I able to perform on stage and in front of audiences. I love to express myself and my love of dance to others and performing is one of my favourite ways to do that.

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

My ballet roles models are Misty Copeland as she shows you don’t have to fit the typical ballet mold to achieve a high standard in dance. Marianela Núñez and Michaela DePrince are also role models for me. Mia Michaels is a massive contemporary and choreographic inspiration as she can express her love of dance through her choreography and the movement of others.

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

The best advice I have received from a teacher is to keep your own goals in sight and to not be influenced by what others are doing.

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

A classical tutu especially when it is handmade with love by my amazing mum

Q12: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?

I like to sing, choreograph and study maths and chemistry.

Q&A With American Ballerina Raleigh Ledford

I recently had the pleasure of asking Raleigh Ledford some questions about her progression as a ballerina. Raleigh is a wonderful dancer who dances so elegantly and with poise. Her dedication to ballet is fantastic. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

When I was 3 or 4

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

The Rock School for Dance Education

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

About 5 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

Russian pointe

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

When I was in pre-k I would never take nap time, so my mom put me in the ballet classes

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

Lawrencia variation

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I love Balanchine as well as classical ballet, so I would have to say NYCB or Royal Ballet

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

When I was Clara in the nutcracker for the first time, and that was also my first nutcracker, and that was also my first pas de deux performance

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

My role model is Darcey Bussell

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

Don’t just take the corrections that the teachers give you specially, and take every correction that the teacher says

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical tutu

Q12: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?

I like to spend as much time with my friends as possible because we have very busy schedules