Can you tell us a bit more about your background and current experience as part of the Paris Opera Ballet
Yes I can! I am originally from Wilton, Connecticut where I grew up with my parents and two sisters and first began dancing. At 15, I left home to attend the Royal Ballet School of Antwerp in Belgium, and I graduated from the school two years later. I studied for one more year in New York at Ellison Ballet Professional Training Program, and at the end of the year I auditioned for the Paris Opera Ballet. I was shocked when the company offered me a 4 month contract, and I happily accepted this once in a lifetime opportunity. My contract was extended to the end of the year, and I had a whirlwind experience adapting to Paris, its culture and the specific style of dancing in the company. I fell in love with the work here and I really admire our director, Benjamin Millepied‘s vision for Paris Opera. This past July, I passed the audition to enter the company again and was so excited to gain a full time contract. I am learning so much in this gorgeous opera house brimming with history, and feel very lucky I have the chance to be here!
What is the most unusual character or choreography you’ve danced’
This is a good question! This past June, I got to dance in José Martinez‘s ‘Les Enfants du Paradis‘. I danced a small role where I had to portray a drunk boy running about the streets of Paris! This definitely forced me to think outside the box and use my imagination. It was a lot of fun!
What advice would you give to someone who was trying to break into the dance world’
To those trying to break into the dance world, I would just say that this art form is an incredible gift to be a part of. Pursuing dance can be demanding and anything but glamorous at times, but I feel very blessed that I get to share a piece of who I am with the world when I dance. If we can hold on to that pure love and joy that comes with dancing, then we are creating a beautiful dance world! My advice would be to always remember why you began dancing, and to actively go out searching for new inspiration daily.
A few days ago, I participated in the annual internal competition at Paris Opera, and was promoted to the next rank in the company, coryphée. So I am looking forward to seeing where that takes me! One of the things I love most about dance is that it is an endless journey. I have a lot of big dreams, and I know I have to continue working hard and keep learning. I hope to be a part of making ballet and art more prominent and universal in today’s world, even if I contribute in the smallest way.
What is your favorite ballet/choreography and why?
This is a tough one. I fall in love with every ballet I get to dance, but I do have a soft spot for Swan Lake. Tchaikovsky was a genius, and I think it’s incredible that music written so long ago can still be so meaningful, relevant, and moving today. Recently, I got the chance to dance in a ballet by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, which was very inspiring and a meaningful experience for me.
If you weren’t dancing what would you be doing?
Anything involving music!
Beach or Mountain? Beach!
Natalia Osipova or Misty Copeland’ Hmmm….Makarova!
Paris or New York? I think I have to say New York because I’m living in Paris now. I love both cities, but New York will always have a really special place in my heart.
Vanilla or Chocolate? Definitely chocolate
Love or friendship? Both!
Ernest Hemingway or James Joyce? Hemingway
Introduction by Diana Vernon