Zoey, how old were you when you took your first ballet class?
I grew up in Toronto, Ontario and took my first ballet class when I was three years old. My mom was the one who introduced me to ballet.
Did you immediately feel passionate about it?
I’ve always enjoyed dancing but I didn’t become passionate about ballet till I was around 11 years old.
What advice you would give to a kid who is inspiring to achieve the things that you’ve reached? How she might be able to get an edge in that journey?
One of the most important things to being successful is loving what you do and always trying your best. The people you surround yourself with can really help you reach your goals so it’s important to find a teacher who constantly encourages you to do your best!
I’m very lucky to have such supportive parents and without them, I wouldn’t have accomplished everything that I have!
It’s also important to stay motivated and not get discouraged. I found that setting goals for myself really helped keep me motivated. Then when I reached them I got excited and wanted to achieve more!
What would you recommend to a much younger you when you just started to train or practice?
Don’t worry or be discouraged about not being perfect, even the best dancers in the world aren’t perfect! The best way to improve is to stretch, practice, and always try your hardest. Even though stretching and practicing may not seem very fun it’s SO important to becoming a better dancer. When I was younger I hated stretching and practicing but now that I’m older I realize how crucial it is to improve. You won’t see results right away but in the long run, it will make a big difference.
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Your favorite schools that you’ve trained or practiced?
My favorite school that I’ve trained with was the school of Alberta Ballet. I went to their 3-week summer intensive in 2016 and LOVED it! The faculty and students were so inspiring, friendly, and talented! The studios were beautiful and the teachers were so knowledgeable, I learned so much and improved a lot.
How did you put your anxiety aside and embrace the role when you perform on stage in front of hundreds of spectators?
The best way I calm my nerves before performing is putting on some headphones and listening to the music I’m going to dance to. I go over the routine in my head and go through all of the corrections my teachers have given me. If there’s a move in particular that I find hard I make sure to practice it a couple times before I go on stage so I don’t worry as much about it.
Who is your favorite artist(s)? What are some things that have influenced your work?
Some of my favorite ballerinas are Sylvie Gulliem, Svetlana Zakharova, Misty Copeland and Alina Somova. My dance teachers have influenced my work greatly with the corrections they give me to help refine my technique. Also, looking at pictures and videos of other dancers have helped me find my own style.
Zoey, we wish you well and continuing success!
We’d like to recommend few books:
Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina
Determination meets dance in this memoir by the history-making ballerina, Misty Copeland. The story of her journey to become the first African-American principal ballerina at the prestigious American Ballet Theatre.
Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet
Jennifer Homans, a historian, critic, and former professional ballerina, wields a knowledge of dance born of dedicated practice.