Q: TELL US WHEN YOU BECAME A DANCER?
A: I danced briefly when I was 4, but stopped after a year because of finances. For Christmas 2008, my special gift was seeing the Joffrey Ballet perform The Nutcracker at The Kennedy Center. I fell in love with the story. I begged my mom to put me in back into ballet because I wanted to be the Sugar Plum Fairy. She told me that I would “never be in The Nutcracker” because she didn’t think small ballet schools performed it. When I was 9 however, I finally convinced her to put me in a local dance school where, lo and behold, they performed The Nutcracker annually! Side note: I actually did get to do Sugar Plum in 2019 with The Maryland Youth Ballet
Q: HOW DO FAMILY AND FRIENDS SUPPORT YOUR CAREER?
A: My family and friends are hugely supportive of my dancing. I’ve had people travel from other states to watch my performances, and anyone I see wants to know “how ballet is going.”
Over the years, finances were also an issue with summer program expenses, but we were always able to raise the money with a GoFundMe thanks to the generous people around us.
Q: DO YOU HAVE ANY ‘WORDS TO LIVE BY’ THAT HAVE HELPED YOU THROUGH THESE UNCERTAIN TIMES?
A: I really leaned into the fact that everything happens for a reason. Like all younger dancers, my audition season what cut short. I was completely helpless as all my biggest auditions were cancelled, including my KCB audition. Yet here I am! Grateful, even with all the uncertainty, it worked out for the best!
Q: WHO INSPIRES YOU?
A: My former teacher, Vadim Slatvitskiy is a huge inspiration of mine. He had an amazing career in Russia with the Novosibirsk Theatre in Siberia, but made the difficult decision to immigrate to America in the early 2000s. While searching for a dancing position, he worked construction jobs and whatever else he could find, traveling from San Francisco to Philadelphia. He finally got a job in Virginia, arriving with no more than $20 to his name. I’ve never seen a harder worker or a more dedicated dancer. He inspires me to keep pursuing my dreams regardless of the circumstances. It’s a great reminder during a global pandemic!
Photograph by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.