Q&A with sophomore Virginia Smith

Sophomore explains what it is like as a student at Kansas City Ballet

Sophomore+Virginia+Smith+focuses+on+her+form+during+a+dance+rehearsal+on+Friday%2C+Dec.+6.+

By Photo by Jena Smith

Sophomore Virginia Smith focuses on her form during a dance rehearsal on Friday, Dec. 6.

When did you start dancing?

I started dancing when I was about six years old.

What got you interested in dancing?

When I saw The Nutcracker, at three years old. I wanted to dance on those fancy toe shoes like the big girls did.

What types of dance do you do?

I take ballet, modern, pointe class and jazz.

Where have you danced before?

I danced at the Academy of the Arts for seven years.

Have you ever had a dance related injury?

[I have had] a lot of them [injuries]. I broke my foot two years ago and at the moment my knee cap is dislocated.

How different is dancing at Kansas City Ballet compared to your old dance studio?

It is more technical, and they take things a lot more seriously. The girls there are there to dance and not just socialize.

What is a typical practice like?

A typical practice starts in the center of the room or at the bar doing warm-ups. Then we go to the center and do a lot of traveling combinations and jumping.

What type of shows have you been apart of with Kansas City Ballet?

So far just The Nutcracker and the Spring Show.

What led to  you to trying out for the Kansas City Ballet? 

I felt like I had learned all I could from Academy of the Arts and I have always wanted to be in the nutcracker at Kansas City Ballet. That is really what led me to leave Academy of the Arts.

What types of roles have you played in shows?

I have played a mirlinton in The Nutcracker which is like a candy cane.

How are dress rehearsals for shows different than regular classes?

Dress rehearsals are a lot more fun than just regular classes because you get to practice on the stage. You don’t have to do any kind of warm up if you don’t want to. You get to wear your costume and watch the professionals do what they do best. In technique class, you do the same things everyday and it is kind of bland.

What were some of the thoughts running through your head before your first performance?

Don’t fall, keep a straight face and smile and if you mess up, keep going.

What do you feel when you are onstage?

All I pretty much feel is adrenaline. I love being onstage. I can’t really speak in front of people, but I can dance in front of people.

What is it like dancing next to professional ballerinas?

It’s really fun, they are just like regular students they help you when you need it. They know exactly what they are doing so it’s really cool to see how a professional dancing is to a student.

What motivates you to keep pushing forward during practices and performances?

The fact that I always think back to that very first day when I saw a dancer. I always think of how I want to be like that or better.

What is your favorite part about being a student at Kansas City Ballet?

I loved meeting new people and gaining a whole other family.

What are some of the difficulties you have to deal with at Kansas City Ballet?      

A lot of the hard things are injuries at the moment. They really push you and it causes a lot of stress sometimes.

What kind of commitment comes with being a student  at Kansas City Ballet?

There is a lot of commitment … you lose a bit of your social life, but it is all worth it.

Who has supported you while being apart of Kansas City Ballet?

My dad and my sister. My sister was a dancer and always tells me to keep going.

How have you changed as a dancer since starting classes at Kansas City Ballet?

I have become a lot more technical and so much more serious about dancing. I know it takes a lot out of you, so I have learned to manage my time as much as I can.

What has been one of the most memorable things from Kansas City Ballet?

The very first day I was there, I was so scared and I didn’t know what I was doing. I was afraid that everybody would have a lot more ballet training than I did. Then I realized that they had exactly the same training as I did so we were all on the same level.

Do you plan on doing anything professionally with ballet?

I would eventually like to become the student apprentice to the company, which is someone who is still a student but the professional company lets you join just to get some [professional] experience. Then I hope they allow me to join the company after I graduate.

What is your goal as a dance student right now?

At least to be the student apprentice which is a big honor.

What has being a student apart of a professional dance company taught you?

It takes a lot of work to keep a show going and keep a professional appearance.

How has being a student in a professional ballet company changed your life?

It lets me gain a lot more experience in the professional world to see what it might be like if I choose to join the professional company.

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