Tag: Ballet

Q&A With American Ballerina Sofya Shakhovets

I recently had the chance to ask Sofya Shakhovets some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Sofya is an incredible dancer, she graces the stage with grace and elegance, her passion and love for ballet is unmatched. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet at maybe 3 years old, but wasn’t too serious about it until I was 8-9.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently dance at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C.

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been on pointe for about 5 years, although much of the first year was exercises only at the barre.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I currently wear Grishko 2007’s size 5 xx with a medium shank

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My mom is a ballet teacher! So, I was always surrounded by it from a young age.

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favorite variation is Nikiya’s Death variation from La Bayadere.

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

My absolute dream company would have to be Mariinsky, they are incredible!

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

No, not really.

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

My favorite ballet dancers would have to be Oksana Skorik, Diana Vishneva and Ulyana Lopatkina. I also am incredibly inspired by Joy Womack’s journey as a professional dancer!

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

Probably, “dancing in itself should be very freeing and easy! pointing your feet, stretching your knees, yes that is all very difficult but actually dancing should be from the heart!”

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical Tutu

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

I enjoy cooking with my mom, planning, shopping, Pilates, and sometimes if I have time, I like to read!

Q&A With American Ballerina Morgan Dunham

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

2 1/2 years old

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

Kansas City Ballet School

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

5 years in about a month

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

Freed DVs

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My mom is a ballet teacher 🙂

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

Ooh wow that’s really hard. it’d be a tie between kitri act i and aurora’s wedding variation

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

Dream company? I’ve got 3! Royal ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Teatro Alla Scala

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

I took a class from Sarah Lamb this summer and she pointed me out to the class and used me as an example for others

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

Marianella Nuñez, Natalia Osipova, Sarah Lamb, Carla Körbes, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Marcelo Gomez, Daniil Simkin

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

Walk with confidence. dance with confidence. don’t let anyone get inside your head. you are fully capable. don’t beat yourself up. just dance and work.

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

A short classical tutu

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

Reading, singing, acting, drawing

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Emily-Rose Moore

I recently had the chance to ask Emily-Rose Moore some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Emily-Rose is an amazing dancer, she graces the stage with poise and elegance, her paasion and love for ballet is incredible. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

There was never a specific point in my life where I started ballet, my Mum was a dance teacher so I’ve always grown up dancing.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently dance at The West Australian School of Ballet/ Dance

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have only been in pointe for a little over a year now as my feet where very restricted so I had to wait to go en pointe.

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I love Gaynor Minden point shoes they are my favourite. I always get yellow as I like how it’s not to strong or weak.

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I was involved with dance from a very young age and I started strict ballet at 8 years old and started full time this year

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favourite variation is Cupid 😍 it’s so fun to do

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would love to work for English national ballet one day

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

My favourite memory so far was my first one en pointe, painful but really fun and rewarding

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

My ballet role models are Sylvia Guillem and Svetlana Zakharova there feet and legs are breathe taking and the way they move and express feeling is just amazing.

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

If it’s not working it’s not changing is my best advice as it is so true when it comes to dance also no pain no gain is a great one

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

I prefer a romantic tutu as I love the way it flows on stage and how it moves, but I also love the classic tutus

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

In my spare time I love to hang out with friends and family and just chill … usually Netflix 😝 I also love a good Pilates class to strengthen my muscles 💕

 

Q&A With Canadian Ballerina Marsden Cousins

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started dancing when I was 2 but seriously doing ballet at age 10

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I dance at Edge Studios in their pre professional program

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been on pointe for 3.5 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear Freed pointe shoes (triangle or anchor makers)

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I got seriously involved in ballet when I was 10 and my ballet teacher encouraged me to audition for summer schools

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I have a few favourites but I will say Paquita variation #11 and Talisman

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

My dream company would be the Marinsky or any company in Europe

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

This past summer when I attended Paris Opera ballet school, Princess Grace academy, and royal ballet school summer intensives would have to be my favourite memory. This summer was an amazing experience and I learned so much and will remember it for ever. One other amazing moment was having privates with Leonid Sarafanov and taking his class

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

One ballet dancer that really inspires me is Olesya Novikova she is such a beautiful dancer and artist and I really hope I can watch her in person one day.

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

My teachers always tell me not to compare myself to others which I think has been some of the best advice they have given me. They tell me to worry about myself and what I am doing and not compare myself to the people around me.

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

I prefer classical tutu but also find romantic tutus very beautiful.

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

When I’m not dancing I am either sleeping or watching Netflix and recently I have been reading during my free time.

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Talia Fidra

I recently had the opportunity to ask Talia Fidra some questions about her wonderful journey as a ballerina. Talia is a phenomenal dancer, she takes to the stage with incredible poise and grace, her passion and dedication to ballet unparalleled. There is no doubt Talis will inspire the next generation of dancers as she strives and reaches her goals. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet at age 4

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I dance at the Queensland Ballet as a young artist

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I’ve been on pointe since 11

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear Capezio Cambre and Bloch Sonata

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I always danced around the house, so Mum decided to put me into kindergarten classes and I’ve never looked back

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I love the Paquita solo variation

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

Queensland Ballet and the Royal Ballet

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

Dancing on stage for a youth ballet company- I just remember getting into character and enjoying the moment!!

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

My number one inspiration is Sylvie Guillem 😍 also love Marinella Nunez

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

Hard work is the key to success and to breath! I know it sound weird but it’s so important

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical tutu

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

I love spending time in the sun as much as I can – as I’m always inside !! But also love reading watching Netflix and cooking ✨

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