Tag: Arabesque

Q&A With American Ballerina Kelsey Thomas

I had the opportunity recently to ask Kelsey Thomas some questions about her incredible journey as a ballerina. Kelsey is a phenomenal dancer, she graces the stage with poise and elegance, her passion and dedication for ballet is unparalleled. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started dance when I was 4 years old

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

Art Ballet Academy

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I started pointe when I was 8

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear Grishko 2007 and I have been wearing this for the past several years.

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My older cousin danced all her life and was a professional ballerina and I went to all of her shows.

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I’m not sure what my favorite variation is because I love so many of them. I guess it depends if you’re talking about a slow variation or a fast one. But I always love Kitri’s 1st act variation.

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

If I had to pick one, it would probably be ABT because they have a really fun and interesting repertoire and their dancers are stunning.

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

My favorite moment in ballet is split between being in class and working really hard to achieve a particular goal and then one random day you did it. That’s just really exciting and encouraging. The other moment is right before you walk on stage and feeling the adrenaline coursing through your veins and all the fear and excitement running through you and then you take your first step on stage and it’s all alive and you feel calmer but ready to attack.

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

I have so many dancers that inspire me for different reasons. Some of the top ones just off the top of my head are Wendy Whelan, Maria Kochetkova, Marianela Nuñez, Alessandra Ferri, and Alina Somova

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

The best advice I’ve ever received from a teacher was from Mariya Kudyakova of Art Ballet Academy many many years ago. She was helping me prepare one of the gypsy dances from Don Quixote for competition and it required a lot of emotion and passion (at the time I was only 12) and she told me to do it again and “dance like you will never dance again in your life.” I’ve carried that in my heart ever since then and I use it to push me forward when I’m tired or feel like I can’t jump one more time or do one more grand battement or hold my adagio for one more second or when I feel like I can’t make it to the end of my variation.

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Sometimes it’s hard to choose between classical or romantic because they both can be so pretty. But I think classical tutus have my heart.

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

I have a really wide variety of interests other than dance, but for the sake of this post, I’ll narrow it down and just say that I love art. Art has been in my life for as long as I can remember. I love drawing and painting mostly but I also love photography and videography.

Q&A With American Ballerina Ava Burns

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was four, so 16 years ago

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently dance as a trainee with BalletMet in Columbus OH, But for the past two years, I have been a Ballet Major at the College – Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, They have a co-op program which allows me to continue to be a junior in college and receive credit to be a trainee at the same time. So I will get my Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major in Ballet while also being a trainee at BalletMet for the next two years.

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been en pointe for 11 years. I got my first pointe shoes when I was 9 years old.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear Suffolk Spotlights

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

So I started ballet because when I was four, I would put all my stuffed animals and dolls on the stairs as my audience, and I would sing and dance for them. So my mom decided to put me in classes. I got more seriously involved in ballet when I joined a pre-professional ballet company when I was in eighth grade called Gem City Ballet which is based in Springboro, Ohio (South of Dayton, Ohio). I would dance 32 hours a week while still enrolled in a public high school.

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favorite variation is from Walpurgisnacht because it has everything I love from pique turns and fourettes. But I also love Kitri’s variation from Act 3 from Don Quixote. My dream role is to be Myrtha from Giselle.

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

My dream company would be The Australian Ballet because they have such amazing dancers and such a versatile repertoire.

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

My favorite memory in ballet would have to be getting chosen to perform the role of Paquita and getting to go on stage and flirt with the audience and showcase that character onstage with my partner. It is such an infectious sensation.

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

My ballet role model would have to be Iana Salenko. She was the first ballerina I ever followed on Instagram and she is so effortlessly stunning. I also love Fumi Kaneko and Tonia Looker.

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

Edwaard Liang, the artistic director of BalletMet, told us in class one day that “yes, you are a dancer, but first you are a human being.’’ Something else he also said was, “Teachers love it when you apply a correction that they give and they love to see you working hard in class, but end the end, it’s not about them. This is about you and your career. You always need to be dancing for yourself, not anyone else.” But a more personal correction that I got from my modern professor at CCM from Andre Megardichian was, “Atuning yourself to subtler sensations, so that a whisper is just as profound as a shouted word.” I am working on this correction because it is so hard to find the whisper in my dancing as I am such a powerhouse and dynamic, jumping type dancer. But in order to be a versatile dancer, the softness and slow side of ballet and dance in general is also very important. It is so easy to feel hard work and to dance for that, but dance is so much more than that.

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

I love the classical tutu because I love doing ballets that usually come with that tutu.

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

I am hanging out with my best friends and we love to get Froyo. I am usually the loudest one of my friends. I love making a fool of myself whether it’s in public or in private. I also love embarrassing my boyfriend by dancing being “extra”

Q&A With American Ballerina Bailey Hetzel

I recently had the opportunity to ask Bailey Hetzel some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Bailey is a phenomenal dancer, she takes to teh stage with incredible poise and grace. Her passion and dedication for ballet is remarkable. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was 9 but really started to consider doing it when I was 12. After that I decided to train more seriously.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently dance at Melbourne City Dance Center with Melbourne City Ballet Theater on the East Coast of Florida.

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I’d say 4 years.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear Russian Pointe Rubin and they are my favorite! I have tried them all but I’ve always tended to gravitate towards Russian Pointe’s shoes because they last me a long time and look prettiest on my feet. Plus the blisters are minimal:)

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

Ocala which is about 2 1/2 hours away. There I grew up playing any sport I could get my hands on and I’ve always grown up in a family that appreciates that. My uncle played college football at FSU and that was a huge achievement for both sides of my family, something they were proud of. So when I moved I met someone that did ballet and I decided to try it. I ended up loving it, which was really weird at the time because I was never known to be quiet or disciplined for that long, but for 4ish years I did both ballet and soccer.

When I had to choose and picked ballet, it was big. My body has always kinda been ideal for sports, I build bulky muscle quickly and I get my speed from my uncle. Plus ballet was really unheard of in my family. Nobody had ever gone that route nor were we surrounded by it but everyone’s learning to appreciate ballet too:)

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

That’s so hard!! I of course have ones I hate but I think for the most part every variation has something to love. I would say that Diana and Actaeon is my favorite.

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

Also a good question! I think in the US I would lean towards ABT because I think they treat their dancers well. But I‘m aiming towards out of the country. I love Dutch National Opera, Staatsballett Ballet in Berlin or even Paris Opera. Hard to pick one, I see myself moving around.

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

Not one that sticks out above the rest. Any time I’m on stage or just performing in front of a small group I’m happy.

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

My teacher Artem Yachmennikov is probably the biggest one I have. He’s danced in all the of the big companies like Dutch National Ballet, Mariinsky, Bolshoi, and San Francisco Ballet, at ranks of Principal and First Soloist. Now he teaches us at MCDC and you can tell he loves it. He’s very hard on us and demands the best, but he’s a really good person and always there for us when we need him to be:) Misty Copeland is such a generic role model but I love what she stands for. There’s so many other dancers in her position and while they aren’t being talked about, I feel like she is a symbol that signifies all of their hardships. I for one have always been discouraged about my body because I know it’s not what everyone thinks of when they think “ballerina.” But I’m also learning that my body is strong and capable and admired by many. Ultimately I’m doing this for myself.

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

There’s a lot of good advice about different things but I have to say one that has always stuck out over the years. It was said when I was about 12 by Duncan Cooper, a more contemporary/ballet teacher known for giving great speeches:) He was teaching at a ballet competition I attended and in that class he told us that we needed to “get comfortable being uncomfortable,” especially being in the ballet world. Ever since that day I’ve pushed myself into doing things I never thought I would. Since I was able to learn that so young, now that I’m older, I truly am comfortable being uncomfortable. It’s something I think everyone should take into account, not just dancers.

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical!! Although I think there’s always a place for romantic too:)

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

When I’m not dancing I enjoy cooking, reading, working out at the gym and going to the beach:)

 

Q&A With American Ballerina Amanda Fields

I had the chance recently to ask Amanda Fields some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Amanda is an excellent dancer, she graces the stage with amazing grace and poise. Her passion and love for ballet infectious. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

When I was 4.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I’m currently dancing at JKO.

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I started when I was 11 so 5 years. When I was 9 and 10 we had these ridiculous pre-pointe shoes which were basically pointe shoes without a shank. I’m sure I did plenty of things I wasn’t supposed to in those.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I am in Grishko Triumphs right now but I’m constantly on the hunt for the next best thing. Name a pointe shoe and I’ve probably tried it.

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My Mother was a modern dancer who always studied ballet. She enrolled me in a once a week class at a local studio and the ballet bug got me almost immediately.

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I love the second act Dulcinea variation from Don Quixote. If only I could just dance the second act and avoid all the crazy split jumps. I think Giselle’s first act variation might be my all time favorite. The port de bras towards her mother are so touching. All the steps emphasize the character.

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

There are so many! I’ve grown up watching ABT so being in that company has always been a dream. But there are also so many  amazing dancers dancing at Houston, Boston, Washington and Pacific Northwest.

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

Dancing Balanchine’s Serenade was an incredible experience. I was 12 at my home studio and Amar Ramasar came to set the piece. He’s now a principal with NYCB. I had never experienced being in a Corps de ballet and still dancing with such fluidity.

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

Devon Teuscher is someone I have always admired. I watched her come up through the ranks in ABT. Her poise on stage is incomparable. She can make the smallest movements speak volumes. Misa Kuranaga is also inspiring. I’ve never seen her move from her fifth. No bourrees necessary. I hope someday to dance with that level of discipline. And Marianela Nunez is just everything a ballerina should be.

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

I train with Elizabeth Troxler who is now choreographing all around NYC but started teaching ballet using the RAD syllabus. She has always told me to do the things you can and then the things you can’t will come. I may not be able to do 5 turns on pointe now but I can do a strong releve, get into a good position and spot. By doing the things I can now, maybe one day I’ll turn like Gillian Murphy.

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical tutu. Ballet dancers work hard to build leg muscles. We should get to show them off.

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

Roll out, stretch, cross train. I’m a bun head to the core. But I also love spending time with family and friends. Finding new places to eat in New York is also fun.

Q&A With Swedish Ballerina Moa Andreasson

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet at the age of 10.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

At the Royal Swedish Ballet school in Stockholm. It’s a full time ballet school with dance & academics combined.

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I’d say I got my first pair of pointe shoes when I was 11 years old.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I am currently wearing the Grishko 2007

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

So as a child I was very athletic and did swimming, track and field, I even tired figure skating- but no ballet or dance. When I was in third grade, my school watched a performance of a dance school which was actually meant to encourage kids to start dancing. Everyone in my class hated it. I remember being the only one who was amazed by the dancers on the stage. Their flexibility and simply what their bodies were able to do. I begged my mom to sign me up for the auditions to the school. She wasn’t too sure about it as I’d never been dancing before but eventually she did what I told her to do. Long story short, I did the auditions and got accepted to the school, The royal Swedish ballet school in Stockholm

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

Hmmmm that’s a good question. I think I’d say Medora variation from Le Corsaire.

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

There are many companies I’d love to work for (in fact any company that would take me) right now I am more interested in Dutch National, Les ballets de Monte-Carlo etc

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

Not really, although I really enjoyed performing the dying swan at my school last school year. It was really an honour and I loved working on that piece.

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

I would say that there are manyyyy people that inspire me.

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

I don’t really have an answer

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical

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

I absolutely LOVE (and live) to travel. I also enjoy spending time with my family and my friends, I love to read and write too

Q&A With American Ballerina Bryn Lafferty

I recently had the opportunity to ask Bryn Lafferty some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Bryn is an excellent dancer, she takes tot he stage with incredible grace and elegance. Her passion and dedication for ballet is unmatched. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet at the age of three.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently dance at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I’ve been en pointe for almost six years.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear Freed pointe shoes.

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I got involved in ballet because my friend’s mom opened a studio near me and asked my mom to put me in it.

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favorite variation is probably the Fascinating Rhythm solo from Who Cares?

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

Honestly, any company that accepts me would be great but my dream companies are probably PNB, NYCB, MCB, and Boston.

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

My favorite memory of ballet was performing Clara or Who Cares?

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

One role model is Leta Biasucci because she danced at CPYB and now at PNB.

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

The best advice I have ever gotten was, keep working and you will surpass those that are ahead now.

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 do abdominal workouts, read, and talk to my parents because I live in a different state for CPYB.

Q&A With American Ballerina Gracie Joiner

I recently had the chance to ask Gracie Joiner some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Graice is an amazing dancer, she graces the stage with incredible poise and elegance. Her passion and dedication for ballet is phenomenal. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was 12, which was almost 4 years ago.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

Atlanta Academy of Ballet and Dance, but I have been accepted to the HARID Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida.

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been en pointe for about 3 years.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear Russian Pointe Rubins.

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I used to be a hip-hop, tap, and jazz competition dancer and when I moved, I just decided on a whim to go to a ballet studio and I have loved it ever since.

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I love Pas de E’sclave and Odalisque variation 2.

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

Any company if I am honest. I do love Louisville Ballet which is where I spent my first summer intensive

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

Yes! When I was dancing as Aurora, the Wedding Pas was the most fun I have ever had onstage and I am very fond of the performance.

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

Marianela Nuñez, Maria Kotchekova, Alessandra Ferri, and Isabella Boylston are people that really inspire me.

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

The best advice I’ve ever received from a teacher is to become comfortable being uncomfortable. It really helps when you want to drop your legs in adagio.

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical tutu.

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

I love to read, stretch, and draw.

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Emma Mortimer

I recently had the opportunity to ask Emma Mortimer some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Emma is a phenomenal dancer, she graces the stage with poise and gtace, her passion and love for ballet is unmatched. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was about 5 doing 1 class a week, and I got into ballet seriously around age 14

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I am lucky enough to dance at New Zealand School of Dance

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

Since I was about 12

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

Bloch Synergy

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My older sister did ballet so I had to come along to dance classes anyway, and I ended up loving it

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I love any of Aurora’s variations because the music is so beautiful, but I also love Kitri’s strong solos

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

Royal Ballet is the dream of course but I would love to either work somewhere in Australia like Queensland Ballet or West Australian Ballet, or anywhere in Europe

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

I love the feeling of performing variations, because you work so hard on them and you can deliver them well on stage. Finishing a performance and knowing you’ve done it well is a nice moment

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

Marianela Nuñez is my all time favourite ballerina that inspires me, but I am also inspired by the people in the years above me at school and people who have been accepted into companies because they show that it is possible to get where you want to be

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

Dance as big as possible, you want to fill up the room so it is only you in it, use your plié and also be a smart dancer as well as a good dancer

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical always

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

I love hanging out with my friends, reading books and exploring the city

Q&A With American Ballerina Eliza Rhodes

I recently had the chance to ask Eliza Rhodes some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Eliza is an amazing dancer, she graces the stage with poise and elegance, her passion and dedication for ballet is incredible. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

It started ballet at age 2

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently train year round at the Washington school of ballet and for the past 3 summers I’ve trained with the bolshoi at bbasi

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I’ve been on pointe for 4 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear Bloch eurostretch pointe shoes

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I got involved in ballet because my mom signed me up when I was a kid and I got hooked

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favorite variation is either Kitri act 2 or anything Paquita

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

My dream company is either Bolshoi Ballet or ABT

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

Favorite moments in ballet is when I get a step correct for the first time or when I perfect it

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

My biggest ballet role models are all of teachers, most especially my teacher since i was 3 and my YAGP coach Sara Ordway @ordwayballet

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

Best advice I’ve ever received from a teacher is to dance for myself above everyone else

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical tutu

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

My favorite thing to do when I’m not dancing is reading or contortion

Q&A With American Ballerina Britta Albertson

I had the chance recently to ask Britta Albertson some questions about her journey as ballerina. Britta is an incredible dancer, she takes to the stage with amazing poise and elegance, her passion and dedication for ballet is unmatched. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I have been dancing since I was 7 almost 8 so that’s around a total of 11 years.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I’ve spent the last 2 years at Ballet West as a PTD and I’m now going to be at Ballet Arizona as a studio company member.

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I’ve been on pointe for almost 8 years now.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

Right now I’m wearing Freed classic pro 90 and my favorite makers are Maltese cross and Y.

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

Actually I wanted to be a soccer player but I kept breaking bones so my mom forced me to go to my first ballet class😂

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

Favorite variation is anything from le Corsair or any of the soloist/principal variations in Wahlpurgusnatch

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to stay with Ballet Arizona or maybe one day go back to Ballet West.

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

Some of the best memories we’re getting both of my offers. My first from ballet west at 15 and now ballet Arizona at 17.

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

I would have to say I really like Sara mearns and Zippora Karz (she was a type 1 diabetic who danced for Balanchine)

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

I have received sooo much good advice over the years but I would have to say one that sticks the most is to be unapologetic with my dancing and that you can always tone things down but to give it all you’ve got right off the bat.

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

I love a classical tutu but I like the way my legs look longer in a romantic 😂

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

Well there’s not much of that😂 but I love to go out and adventure with friends to new places. We love hiking and going on picnics. Or just going on long drives with music blasting 😂