Tag: Pointe

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Keera McLaren

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I was 9 years old when I started ballet

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

Charlesworth Ballet Institute

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I have been en pointe for 8 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear Grishko 2007’s

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I first got involved into ballet because I saw the tv show dance academy, and it inspired me to become a dancer.

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I don’t have a favourite variation because I love them all, but I’m currently working on aurora act III

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I would honestly love to work for any company as each company is so different

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

My favourite memory was my first ever performance with the charlesworth ballet institute and I remember how nervous yet excited I was to perform onstage with all my friends in Don Quixote.

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

My ballet role models are probably Marianela Núñez and Skylar Brandt

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

To turn your nerves into excitement when stepping onto the stage.

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

It takes a lot of hard work, and it doesn’t get any easier but you are strong and you will manage.

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

Performing onstage with the pretty costumes

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

The hardest thing about being a ballerina is probably training 24/7.

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”?

Yeah I definitely had days where I thought I should quit but I thought about that first ever time I performed onstage and how happy it made me feel.

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

I’ve had a couple stress fractures in my feet and a pulled sciatic nerve. Other than that nothing too serious.

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

Baking and hanging out with my friends.

Q&A With American Ballerina Delaney Chand

I recently had the opportunity to ask Delaney some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Delaney is a fantastic dancer, she’s a dancer who has incredible grace and her passion and dedication to ballet is outstanding. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

When I was 11

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

Hudson Conservatory of Ballet

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

Almost 2 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

Bloch and Russian Pointe

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I knew someone who was doing it and I thought it would be so fun!

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

Either Harlequinade or Coppelia 3

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

Houston Ballet or Royal Ballet School

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

My favorite memory is getting into the Houston Ballet Summer intensive!

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

Misty Copeland and Claudia Dean

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

To train a lot but also be a kid and have fun!

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

Start dancing earlier

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

I love the challenge of always having more to learn!

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

It’s a lot of mental and physical strain

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”?

One of the best things about starting late is that it prevented burnout

Q15: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical

Q16: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

No serious injuries but I did suffer a hairline stress fracture in my tibia

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

I love playing with my dogs or hanging out with friends!

Q&A With Peruvian Ballerina Aitana Espinoza

I recently had the opportunity to ask Aitana some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Aitana is an amazing dancer, she is a dancer who has incredible poise and elegance, her passion and dedication to ballet is remarkable. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

When I was 3 years old

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I continue my preparation as a classical dancer at the Rosie Schottland Classical Ballet school

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

6 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

Gaynor Minden

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

From a very young age I watched children’s ballet movies and I loved it! I asked my mom at 3 to take me to study ballet

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

Aurora III Act, Paquita

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I’m Peruvian but I will love to continue studying in USA or Europe and I will work on a company there

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

There are several, when I played Clara in the nutcracker, when I represented my country in the Yagp (Canada) and in Tanzolymp (Germany) and when I graduated from the national superior school of ballet and when I won silver and bronze medals in the competition. International Dancing in Lima.

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

Melisa Hamilton, Svetlana Zarakhova, Jasmine Naghdi, Jurgita Dronina,

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

Never stop fighting and working

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

Always be myself

Q12: Best thing about being a ballerina?

Playing many roles and meeting wonderful people

Q13: Hardest thing about being a ballerina?

The discipline

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”?

If it varies sometimes !! I have not lived a normal childhood or adolescence

Q15: Have you ever suffered a serious injury?

No, never

Q16: What do you like to do when you aren’t dancing (your free time)?

I enjoy with my family, my pet and my friends

Q&A With Ballerina Maria Oka

I had the chance recently to ask Maria Oka some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Maria is a phenomenal dancer, she takes to the stage with amazing grace and poise. Her passion and love for ballet infectious. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

Started dancing when i was 3. Professionally age 17.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

Ajkun Ballet Theater

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

Approximately 13 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

Gaynor Minden

Q5:How did you first get involved in ballet?

My mother took me to ballet school since I have loved dancing so much.

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

Paquita, Grand pas de deux female Va and Aurora act2

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

Being on stage with shining lights, wearing sparkly costume and dancing in front of audiences are the best moment ever in my life.

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

Misty Copeland, Wendy Whelan and Svetlana Zakarova

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

“you’re an actress”

When I was sad about my performance, my teacher told me that no one cares or knows about my mistakes or if I’m sad. I just have to push through and work harder in rehearsal. That made me a lot stronger.

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Definitely classical

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

I watch any kind of dancing videos. It’s inspiring to watch different styles of dancing especially like Hip-hop.

Jessica’s Story – Aspiring Ballerina, to Hell and back

Sometimes ballet looks glamorous with beautiful tutus, pointe shoes and numerous leotards however often the large majority of people involved in ballet turn a blind eye to a serious issue which affects too many dancers regardless of age, eating disorders and Mental Health issues are faced by too many, beating the stigma and breaking down the barriers of mental health issues which often comes to the surface in ballet through eating disorders. The focus on size, shape and weight can put extreme pressures on dancers. Some dance environments can lead young people into destructive eating habits which may have long-term and even fatal consequences.

Ballet brings upon many pressures and challenges for any young dancer, the pressure of looking a certain way, meeting a preconceived look of a dancer and unnecessary pressures placed upon themselves to exceed at ballet at the expense of other crucial issues such as mental and physical well-being. Ballet can be incredibly competitive with so many dancers all striving for the same goal, the competitiveness can lead to some ugly actions.

Watching a young talented dancer whose passion for ballet consumed her from an early age is captivating but obstacles and demons challenge us all. Jessica Restivo from the USA is a dancer who lived and breathed ballet from a young age. However recently she faced a challenge that tested her mental and physical strength and well-being.

An eating disorder consumed Jessica over the past few years which came to ahead recently and only recently she took the courageous step of taking her fight public. Overwhelming support from people far and wide comforted her like a warm blanket and the support was unexpected according to Jessica. Her strength and courage is incredible and definitely needs championing.

This is her story.

Happy new year! I am excited to see what this year brings. This year has been a rollercoaster. Some of you may be wondering why I haven’t been dancing and have disappeared for multiple months and I owe you all an explanation.

I have had a severe eating disorder for the past four years. I thought that I would share my story to motivate others who are struggling to seek help and talk about this monstrous illness. I kept it a secret for a long-time, but I want to end the stigma and talk about it because eating disorders are a huge problem. I began 2018 at 80 pounds – almost dead. I was scared to even drink water and was severely dehydrated and malnourished. In January I hit my lowest weight and cried constantly.

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I was dying, and I was terrified of food and obsessed with my weight. I had a body that I hated but was stuck in my eating disorder. The beginning of February I went into the hospital and was put on an IV and almost died. I ate everything they gave me but only ate to get out of hospital and planned to restrict when I got out. I got out of the hospital and restricted eating a lot of high volume-low calorie foods and lost weight quickly and was obsessed with counting every calorie.

I had started self-harm and was severely depressed. When my team realized I was self-harming after three weeks out of the hospital I was readmitted to the hospital for suicide watch. I was being tube fed in the hospital and I refused food. I began to refuse the supplements and they pinned me down and I got a feeding tube. Those two weeks in the hospital were hell I cried and cried I hated eating and was out of control.. Then a bed at Eating Recovery Center inpatient facility opened up and I was off to Texas for eating disorder treatment in March.

As soon as I started treatment, I stopped calorie counting and was fed daily through a tube along with the calories that I ate. I met some amazing people there and was recovering and slowly getting better. I ate and hated myself for it. I weight restored thirty pounds and hated my body. Then in June I was transferred to PHP and slowly began to relapse into anorexia. By the end of the week I had relapsed. No one noticed.

Then I returned home, and I returned to behaviours. I hid my weight loss for months. Then I started 11th grade my first time in real school ever in September. As soon as school started, I spent lunch in the library studying. Then in October my team figured out my tricks and were ready to send me back to inpatient because of my vitals and bloodwork were bad. I decided I wanted to stay in school and raised my intake and gained over November and December. I had decided I wanted to stay in school and graduate High School and was determined to recover. I ate lunch with my Mom every day for the rest of the first semester to assure I was eating. I was excelling in school however I had no friends and was not social at all.

2018 has had its ups and downs but I have made it through another year and this next year holds so many exciting things such as finding colleges, yummy foods, finishing my first year in High School, and being happy. I hope to keep growing as a person and continue my recovery! I have so much to look forward to and am excited for my future!

Ballet needs to break face this issue head on and accept that in 2019, it cannot keep pushing the same image as years gone by, the art will loose too many young talented dancers due to the pressures these dancers face. Mental Health awareness is the new fight we all need to combat, take the time to ask someone if they are okay. Give a comforting hug and let people know you are there for them. No dancer should have to go through what Jessica has been through but we all know too well that there are many dancers facing a similar challenge to differing degrees.

Q&A With Australia Ballerina Charlotte Mitchell

I recently had the opportunity to ask Charlotte some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Charlotte is an amazing dancer, she takes to the stage with incredible poise and elegance, her passion and dedication to ballet is remarkable. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was 3 years old

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I am currently dancing at the McDonald college in Sydney Australia

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I’ve been on point for over 4 years now

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I am currently wearing Bloch synergy

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My mum put me into ballet because she used to be a dancer

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

I have a ton of favourite variations but I really like Kitri act 3

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I don’t know what my dream company is as it is constantly changing but I love the American ballet theatre

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

Some of my favourite moments in ballet is when you finally get a movement or a correction you’ve been working on for weeks, months, or even years (Its one of the best feelings in the world)

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

I’m super basic so I am obsessed with Misty Copeland just because of her work ethic and how she never gave up despite of what people told her. I also really like Jade Wood in the Australian Ballet just because of her expression in her dancing and how graceful she moves on stage

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

Just to keep your options open and try and be as multi-talented as possible because you never know what going to happen in a audition room

Q11: Classical or Romantic tutu?

Oh good question I really have a good appreciation for a good romantic tutu and because I’m tall I feel like it just looks really good on stage x

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

I don’t find myself with much free time since I dance full time and when I’m not dancing I’m studying, I do like to play piano and sing though when I have the time to practice.

Q&A With American Ballerina Sydney Poulsen

I recently had the chance to ask Sydney Poulsen some questions about her journey as a ballerina. Sydney is an amazing dancer, she graces the stage with incredible poise and grace, her dedication and love for ballet is phenomenal. Below are her responses.

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet at 10

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I dance at international ballet academy

 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 Russian pointes

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I transitioned from competition dance into ballet

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

Paquita Nine

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

Houston Ballet

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

Just performing in general

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

Soloist Alyssa Springerman from Houston Ballet and Lauren Lovette

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

hmmm I don’t know

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical

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

Read, learn math, and bake

Q&A With Australian Ballerina Heather Warning

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

At age 9

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

Cinevox Junior Company in Switzerland

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

Around 8 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

The Grishko Allures

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I slouched a lot and ballet was to help my posture

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

Anything in Sleeping Beauty, especially in Act II!

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

RNZB, Queensland Ballet, Dutch National, all of them!!

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

Being on stage with a live orchestra

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

Isabella Boylston, Marianela Nunez, Maria Kochetkova, Svetlana Zakarova.

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

You never stop learning, there’s always a next layer

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

Classical

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

Exploring the world, and the underwater world, whilst taking photographs!

Q&A With American Ballerina Ali Walters

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started ballet when I was 4 years old.

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I currently dance at Olympic Ballet Theatre.

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 Grishko 2007s.

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

I was really active when I was young and had a lot of energy. I was constantly dancing around the house. When I was old enough I asked my mom if I could dance and that’s where it all began.

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

That’s a hard question. Right now my favorite variation is probably Satenella. But I also do really love anything Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, or Giselle.

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

My dream is definitely SFB. I love their rep and their dancers are amazing!

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

I have so many. Of course getting my first pair of pointe shoes and summer intensives. But I think my favorite was getting to preform as a willi in Giselle. It is my all time favorite ballet and it was such an amazing experience to preform it.

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

Maria Kochetkova is a dancer I’ve looked up to for as long as I can remember. I’ve always been amazed by her clean technique and the personality that she brings to every role she performs. My teacher has also always been a huge inspiration for me. I grew up watching her dance professionally and now being taught by her everyday is so motivating.

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

At the end of the day, ballet is so much more than perfect technique. It’s about your artistry and the emotion that you add to your dancing because that’s what makes you a true artist.

Q11: Classical or romantic tutu?

I love both, but my favorite would have to be a classical tutu. There is something so stunning watching a ballet where every girl, even in the corps, is wearing an elegant tutu.

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

When I’m not dancing I cross train and of course school. But for fun I love to bullet journal and hang out with friends.

Q&A With American Ballerina Cassie Van Wolde

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

Q1: When did you start ballet?

I started dance when I was 5

Q2: Where do you currently dance?

I dance in the Dutch National Trainee Program

Q3: How long have you been en pointe for?

I’ve been en points for about 4/5 years

Q4: What pointe shoes do you currently wear?

I wear Soffolk Spotlights

Q5: How did you first get involved in ballet?

My mom placed me in ballet when I was young because I had so much energy and then I fell in love with it.

Q6: What is your favourite variation?

My favorite variation is Giselle

Q7: What company would you love to work for?

I’d love to work for any company in Europe but my dream is Het National Ballet

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

My favorite memory was performing in the Golden Swan Gala and seeing some amazing professional dancers perform from the wings!

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

One of my inspirations in Jessica Xuan

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

Work smarter not necessarily harder

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’m usually doing school so I can work on graduating early!