Ballerina with the American Ballet Theatre
How would you describe your athletic / movement / fitness practice(s)?
Ballet is a very athletic, strenuous, and demanding art form. Every muscle in your body is in use and has to be in peak condition. The hardest part is making it look easy and effortless, because it is definitely neither of those things.
When people ask you what you do for a living, what do you say?
I say I’m a ballerina.
What are the top three most important investments you’ve made in yourself?
For me, training was the most important investment. I left my hometown when I was 15 in order to train at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of American Ballet Theatre. In order to make this happen, I gave up having a normal high school experience, a social life, and time with my family. But I still believe that it is the best decision I ever made. I would not be where I am today without the training I received at JKO. Another important investment is the time I put into cross-training. Ballet is very hard on the body and I have found that cross-training is key for preventing injuries. I enjoy gyrotonics, pilates, yoga, cardio for stamina, boxing, and light weight lifting. All of the exercise that I do is geared towards improving my dancing and technique. Another important investment I made in myself was moving to Europe on my own to dance with Staatsballett Berlin. I had spent such a long time in the same place that I felt too comfortable.. moving to Berlin really pushed me out of my comfort zone and I learned so much about who I am as a person and as a dancer. The time I spent in Berlin was definitely crucial to shaping who I am today.
What prompted you to pursue a path (career or passion) tied to athleticism / fitness / movement?
I fell in love with ballet at a very young age. It’s such a beautifully demanding art form. I could never picture myself doing anything besides ballet, so I put everything I had into it. Ballet is always evolving, therefore there is always something to work on and improve. I think the unattainable level of perfection is what continues to draw me to ballet.
What makes you feel strong/confident?
Being on stage in front of an audience makes me feel strong and confident. It is such a vulnerable place.. the lights are on you and everyone in the audience is there to see you. Performing in that setting.. doing what I’ve worked on my entire life.. is definitely a confidence boost.
What do you love to do when no one is around?
Sing.. mostly country music.. But I am so tone deaf and have a terrible voice so it only happens when I’m alone ☺
When you’re “performing” (in whatever form that means to you) how do you feel?
When I’m performing I feel free. I spend so much time in rehearsals, staring at myself in the mirror, critiquing everything.. but when I’m onstage performing and the mirror disappears, I feel such an exhilarating breath of freedom.
Favorite daily ritual?
My favorite daily ritual is company class. At ABT, we start everyday with an hour and a half technique class. It is so important to repeat these exercises and fine tune technique.. because it can slip away so easily. For me, daily class is almost like a meditation.
Favorite space in your home?
My couch! For the first time since I moved to NYC, I finally live in an apartment that has enough space for a couch! It sounds like a silly thing, but it’s a really exciting thing for me.
Favorite motivational saying / quote / advice?
“I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart.” Van Gogh