A few weeks ago, I received an email from the Boston Ballet inviting Mal and me to one of their upcoming performances. Mal and I recently talked about getting out more and enjoying all that the city has to offer, so the timing for the invitation was perfect, so we accepted. Plus, neither of us have ever been to the ballet, so it sounded like a neat opportunity.
I have to admit, I actually don’t know much about the Boston Ballet at all. I took ballet classes from the time I was 3 years old until I graduated high school (and then danced in college on the Union College Dance Team), so I know I’d enjoy a performance, but, for some reason, I always figured tickets would be super expensive, so I never bothered to look into them. It turns out tickets to the Boston Ballet are actually really affordable. They start at $29 and tickets to The Nutcracker start at $35. Not bad, right? Maybe I’ll buy tickets to The Nutcracker this year!
Interview with Sylvia Deaton of the Boston Ballet
In addition to a pair of tickets, I was also offered the opportunity to interview one of the dancers from the Boston Ballet. Check out my Q & A with Sylvia Deaton below!
When did you first start dancing?
I have been dancing since I could walk. The second I hear music I have a sudden urge to move.
How did dancing for fun turn into a career for you?
I knew I wanted to be a professional dancer after loving Broadway shows and professional ballet performances when I was younger. I would go home after these shows and have my sister stand in as my male partner. I would sell tickets to my family or my always attentive stuffed animals. This dream became a reality when I came to Boston Ballet School as a scholarship student in their pre-professional program. I was then asked to be in the Boston Ballet II as an apprentice for two years and then accepted as a member of the corps de ballet in the main company. I am so grateful to be living my dream and coming into work every day doing the thing that brings me the utmost fun and joy to my life.
Fitness-wise, what does a typically week look like for you?
I get to the studio at 8:45 every morning to start my warm up. I do an hour warm up consisting of cardio, Pilates, and stretching. At 9:45 we have a company class. This is a typical ballet class starting with 45 minutes of work at the barre and 45 minutes in the center with different exercises to improve technique. After a 15 minute break, I begin a day of six hours of rehearsal. Each hour I will rehearse something different. For example, one hour might be for the doll in the Nutcracker, the next hour for William Forsythe’s the Second Detail, and the next for Christopher Bruce’s Rooster set to the music of the Rolling Stones. After the first three hours, I have an hour to eat lunch at 2:30 then go back to rehearse for the last three hours finishing at 6:30. After that, I stay for about 30 minutes to stretch my muscles so they stay loose for the next day.
What’s a typical day of eating look like for you?
I eat small things throughout the day. For breakfast, I have a big bowl of cereal. My favorite is to mix a variety of Kashi cereals topped with a spoonful of Greek yogurt for protein, fresh berries, sunflower seeds, and milk. In between the hours of the day we have five minute breaks. I take little snacks for this time to keep my energy up such as bananas, apples, and almonds. For lunch, I pack a turkey sandwich from home on wheat bread with tomato, spinach, and mustard. I stay hydrated by drinking Gatorade for the electrolytes and water. Dinner is my time to refuel with a protein such as chicken or turkey alongside fresh vegetables such as a sweet potato, steamed cauliflower, or sautéed grape tomatoes.
What’s something most people would be surprised to hear about ballerinas?
One interesting thing about ballerinas is the number of pointe shoes we go through. I usually sew ribbons and elastics on a new pair of shoes every day. Sometimes one pair of shoes is only good for one performance becoming too soft after that to support my feet.
What’s the craziest/unexpected thing that’s ever happened to you during a performance?
The craziest thing was one Nutcracker performance in the opening of second act right after the cute little angels had scurried offstage we all noticed a small pool of water. Each divertissement did their best to avoid this puddle jumping over it and curving around it. We found out later, after the act was put on a brief hold for clean up, that the abuse of the water cooler in the children’s dressing area and the nervous environment onstage proved to not be the best combination.
Question of the Day
Have you ever been to the ballet? What’d you think?