Joined Ballet West in 2010
What age did you start ballet?
Really little … around three, recital stuff.
You danced in recitals when you were three?!
Yeah, I looked like Miss Piggy. I had a lollypop and I curled my hair for every occasion. But then it was really boring so I quit. I started [dancing] again when I was eight. It was called the Ballet Ventura School. The name changed like fifty times though.
Where is that school?
That’s in Ventura, California.
How long did you train there?
From eight until I went to Royal Danish.
When did you go to Royal Danish?
I auditioned for the summer program when I was sixteen. I turned seventeen that summer. I actually turned seventeen the day they offered me an apprenticeship for the company. So, I had two weeks to go home, pack and move to Denmark.
How was trying to find a place so quickly out there?
They (Royal Danish) found me an apartment, but it didn’t have a shower, it only had a bathroom. It was like a converted office building. So, we just had a toilet and had to shower at the theater. But that was only for the first four months.
How long did you dance for Royal Danish?
Six full years, and when I started my seventh season I left.
Why did you leave?
Because I had been to ABT (American Ballet Theater) that whole spring and summer and became newly inspired.
So, what would you say are the differences between dancing overseas and dancing here in the states?
Well, I don’t know because Royal Danish is really specific. Super job security, which can either create a very nice atmosphere or a lot of people that get “comfortable.” So, in that company in particular I feel like they thought American people were really pushy and competitive. And then you get back to America, and you see where it (the competition) can really push people to succeed. Not having that job security and working in situations where you can get let go every year makes you work a little bit harder I think. So, I found the drive and inspiration here.
What do you like the most about being here at Ballet West?
I mean, it’s the best company situation I’ve ever seen. Salt Lake is such a nice place to live, and you’re paid enough to have a home. It’s the perfect size company, so no one gets lost. Adam [Sklute] is just really nice and normal and easy to talk to, which I’ve never ever seen in a director. And I like all the people, and I like the rep. I really like it here, a lot. I’m not just saying this because of the blog. People are so unhappy in ballet companies. People here are content cause there’s not that much to complain about.
So, those are obviously all good things. What is the most difficult thing about being a professional dancer for you?
(pause for about a minute) … I don’t know; it’s pretty good. I mean, by Friday I’m pretty tired, but it’s a good tired, you know what I mean?
Do you have a routine getting ready for a show?
I get ready really fast.
Do you come to the theater last minute?
No … I always give myself plenty of time, just incase. But I get there, and I’m ready in around ten minutes.
Ten minutes to go on stage and dance?!
No … Make-up, hair, costume. Then I do a warm up. I don’t have any lucky things I do. I pray, but that’s not lucky. I never go on stage without doing a barre. I couldn’t even do that when I was young. They say that’s a young thing (not taking barre before going on stage), but I always had to do it. I pretty much have to try stuff on stage before I do it either by myself or with my partners. That’s a little bit annoying during Nutcracker for Easton …
What would you say is your biggest asset as a dancer to the company?
I hate questions like that. No matter how you answer it you sound conceited. Years of professional experience, I guess. That always helps a company.
How do you think your experience helps Ballet West?
I learned a lot at Royal Danish. So much performing experience … we would do 130 shows a year. The older dancers would teach you how to act and mime on stage, and really be a character. And then when we (Haley and Easton) were on Broadway, we learned how to act. That’s something I think I can bring to the company. Especially for younger dancers, it’s helpful for them to see that you don’t have to be self conscious. Because I know that I was when I was younger. Maybe it’s just a confidence that comes with performing a lot. I feel like when you’re young you’re so embarrassed that someone is going to look at you and think, that is so stupid. And that’s all that really holds you back is feeling like you’re going to look stupid. So, if you see someone that doesn’t care if people think they look stupid, I think that can really help to set an example.
Is there a role that you’ve always wanted to perform before you retire?
Oh yeah, the lead in Swan Lake. Definitely.
Yeah, well, Odile too of course. What is your favorite role you’ve done so far with Ballet West?
What is your favorite ballet step?
Definitely not anything at the barre … I’d have to say an arabesque.
What’s your least favorite ballet step?
I know exactly what it is … Attitude pirouette, plie into en dedans pirouette (everybody get that?). I freaking hate that. They gave that once in an audition and I was like, are you kidding me? That is the worst step in the world. Hate it …
Yeah, I had to do that today in ballet class …
The worst step in the world …
HAHA! So, What do you like to do on the weekend when you’re not dancing?
I always feel so lame ‘cause I’m not artistic. Everyone else has a thousand hobbies.
Well, you’re obviously artistic. Isn’t that why you’re sitting here doing this interview?
I don’t know though. I don’t know if artistic in that way (dancing) really transfers over to artistic in any other way.
But that is your way of expressing your artistry, right?
Yeah but mine (artistry) pretty much ends with ballet. I like spending time with my husband (Easton). And I like spending time with my dogs, a lot. And I like decorating my house. I work in the yard a lot. I’m very involved in church. What else, I like reading, watching movies. See, I don’t paint, I don’t craft or scrapbook.
Well, you like decorating your house. That’s artistic.
Yeah, I love doing that. I wish the budget was endless.
Everybody does. What is the weirdest thing you have in your dance bag right now?
I mean, I have that big army knife, but that’s not that weird.
Big army knife?
Well, it’s like that big razor thing. It’s huge … But that’s to shave the bottom of my pointe shoes.
It’s not to kill anyone or anything? You know, people reading the blog would probably think that’s pretty weird.
Yeah … I mean, a big, huge knife in your bag? That’s pretty weird.
Ok, new question … What’s the first thing that comes to mind when I say the word … Fiduciary?
(laugh for about a minute)
What’s the first thing that comes to mind?
Easton … Asking what fiduciary means eight thousand times in the [medical staff] meeting. I actually started crying and shaking, I was laughing so hard. That is not written down is it?
On my question list?
Oh, yeah, look … (as I point to the word on my computer screen) “Fiduciary.”