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Student Spotlight – Violet Reid



Meet Violet Reid, a sixteen-year-old 11th grader at Headwaters School. She has been with us since she was a freshman when her family moved to Austin. Violet is a very talented dancer and will be starring as Clara in Ballet Austin’s 55th Annual Production of The Nutcracker this year! We are so proud of her accomplishment and wanted to hear a little bit more from her.

Have you always trained with Ballet Austin?

No, I have not. I’m actually from Connecticut, so I trained with a really tiny studio called Fineline Theatre Arts with two ex-Broadway stars. So, my first classes were actually with musical theatre.

What age did you first start dancing?

I didn’t actually start ballet seriously until I came here [Austin]. I did it once or twice a week to improve my balance to better my tap dancing skills, actually. And then I said to myself, “This is actually really cool!” When I was five, I did start with modern and those types of [beginner] classes.

What was your first move into more serious ballet classes?

My old dance teacher at my old studio, Arlene [a former Russian dancer and current teacher, director and choreographer], told me that she really thought that I should go in the direction of ballet. She said there was promise there, that I could shine in ballet. She even called called Ballet Austin, she wasn’t sure if I had reached out to them. She thought it would be a really great place for me. So, I went and auditioned and got a spot. I said I would try it for a year, then I just fell in love with it.

Proudest moment in your ballet career?

Probably this.

Best advice you’ve ever received from a teacher?

“Use what you were given.” You really just have to know your body so you can accentuate the things that are nice about it. Ballet is all about long lines and very technically perfect, so, if you have long legs, really make sure to stretch our legs. If you have nice feet, show them off. Really be in a position to accentuate the nice things to grab people’s attention.

Dream role?

Probably Odette in “Swan Lake.”

Do you have any pre-performance routines or rituals?

I always have to brush my teeth before a performance! Even if have two performances in a day, I have to brush my teeth before each one. I also will jog in place and warm up my feet. Then, I take deep breaths and shake my head; I do singing exercises before I go on stage!

What can you tell us about your shoes?

Well, in dance you start pointe work when you are about thirteen, but it differs with your training. I started when I was eleven because my teachers said, “Yea, your feet have probably stopped growing.” You don’t want to start pointe too early, because the growth plates in your feet need to be done forming, so that constant squishing of your feet into your shoes will not make you turn out to have small, damaged feet. It didn’t really affect me; I guess my growth plates were done forming enough. My feet still kept growing as I progressed in pointe shoes. Now, I wear a 4.5 in pointe shoes, which is a 7 in regular shoes. I wear Freed Studio Professionals. Freeds are the most famous pointe shoe brand, but everyone swears by the Freed Classics. So when I say I wear Studios, a lot of dancers don’t understand. But I like them, they are much more supportive.

How long have you been performing in the Nutcracker?

I started my first performance when I was ten at Fineline, just as Second Snowflake on the left. Because I started late, a lot of the girls were a lot better than me, I was stuck doing little things. But then it just progressively got better. The next year, I was in the Flowers Dance, where I got to do something a little better. These were all academy productions, they weren’t company productions.

When I came to Austin, I was in the “Chinese Dance.” It was fun, but the costumes were ridiculous. You couldn’t tell a little egg from anyone. But then the next year I was a “Party Girl” where I got to see Clara and notice how pretty the party scene is; it is really most of the first act. It’s so long, it’s ridiculous! Then this year, I am Clara!

What are your future goals as a dancer?

Maybe mid-way through senior year, so this time next year, I will see if it’s obtainable to be accepted into a company. Maybe somewhere like Pacific Northwest Ballet or even as a trainee, which is a position where you are not a company member, but you get paid by the performance.

How are we going to be able to see you in the Nutcracker?

Go to BalletAustin.com or thelongcenter.org and buy your tickets!

Thank you, Violet!

Ballet Austin’s “The Nutcracker” begins on Friday, December 8 at 7:30pm at the Long Center. Violet will be performing starting the 9th (she and the other Clara trade off each performance). Violet is scheduled to perform the following:

  • Saturday, 12/9 at 2:00pm
  • Sunday, 12/10 at 2:00pm
  • Friday, 12/15 at 7:30pm
  • Saturday, 12/16 at 7:30pm
  • Tuesday, 12/19 at 7:30pm
  • Thursday, 12/21 at 7:30pm
  • Friday, 12/22 at 7:30pm

 

 

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