When did you start dancing ballet?
I started ballet at the age of 16 when my aunt took me to Stanford University to see Dance Theatre of Harlem and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. Seeing African American dancers doing classical ballet and neo-classical styles just had me in awe. So I said to my mother I wanted to do what they do and here I am!
What is your favorite role to date, or one you would like to dance in the future?
Hmmmm, I have a couple of ballets I would love to dance in! Neo-classical works by George Balanchine and Second Detail by William Forsythe–the choreography looks amazing!
How do you get ready for a performance?
When I get ready for a performance I always take class to get my body warm and to make sure everything technically is in order. Then the usual make up and costume, then I always say a prayer just to calm my nerves, then I’m ready!
What’re some items in your dance bag?
Dance clothes, slippers, body lotion, nose tissue, pain killers, toe tape, scissors, headband, body spray, and (sometimes) gum!
What’re your favorite restaurants?
Now my favorite part–food! Most people think that dancers don’t eat, but thats not true–we love to eat. In fact, we have to keep up our stamina in rehearsals. Now when we are out of rehearsal, that is another story. I like to eat Panda Express at least once a week! My favorite restaurant is Olive Garden and anything my mother, aunt and grandmother and great- grandmother like to fix!
What’re your favorite movies and TV shows?
I love the Nightmare before Christmas–I always watch it!–and Queen of the Damned. I also can’t get enough of 30Rock–it’s just hilarious!
What do you do when you’re out of the ballet studio?
Besides doing ballet every day, I love to just relax and play video games–and catch up on sleep!
What’s your favorite part of Oakland?
Moving to Oakland has been most lovely! Downtown is just breathtaking! I love the Grand Avenue area and just got into the Montclair and Piedmont area!
Tell us a little about your time at University of the Arts and your choreography experience there.
My time at University of the Arts was a great one! I learned a lot as a dancer and as an artist! Whoever thought I could win a choreography award! At University of the Arts, in order for a dance major to graduate he or she must choreograph a senior piece, a dance made of their choreography–lighting, costumes, props (if any), music all needs to be from the dancer. So I’m thinking, why not make a classical ballet of three male dancers? The music I found was by Felix Mendelssohn, and I thought would fit and it all came together. (No other senior created a classical ballet, not even the ballet majors! So I made a lil’ history.) Every one loved it–even the staff! The process wasn’t hard all three dancers were trained very well and gave all their heart and soul into my ballet.