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Galería Hanbell


Michelle Davis

Hi everybody! I hope you enjoyed reading my interview and learned something from it. I am a classically trained ballet dancer with over 16 years of experience. I also trained in other various styles such as contemporary, lyrical, jazz, tap, hip hop, and musical theatre dance. I have performed Principal and Soloist roles in The Nutcracker (Clara, Snow Queen, Dew Drop, and Sugar Plum Fairy), Sleeping Beauty (Aurora, Lilac Fairy, Woodland Glade Fairy, and Enchanted Garden Fairy), Les Sylphides (Mazurka Soloist), and The Dream Scene from Don Quixote (Kitri/Dulcinea). In addition, I am currently studying Stage Management at Tulsa Community College. 

2021 Headshot.jpeg

Artist: Michelle Davis

Based in USA

Instagram: @thetravelingballerina

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Why is self-promotion important for a artist, especially in the 21st century?

Despite social media being flawed, it's also good for the exposure and connections that it provides. Because people use it all the time, it is a great way to connect with others as you can promote yourself, put out your work, allow others to discover you in ways that you might not be able to in person. Word travels quicker in social media than any other place.

What is so special about your field of work?

There's just something special about being a ballet dancer that I can't really put in words. All of your hard work and dedication leads up to this one specific moment, and then you keep doing that over and over again for a living. With this field, it's not the money that drives you, rather it is your passion and love for the art form because there's something so magical about being on stage and taking the audience on a journey, as well a chance to escape reality for 1-2 hours. It's truly something that is captivating. 

How has your personal experience with dance led you to become the artist that you are today?

When I was younger, ballet was just very fun. I knew that I wanted to be the girl on stage in a tutu and a tiara dancing around with a group of people, or by yourself, or with a guy. But as I grew older, I began to realize that being a ballet dancer is much harder than it looks. I think that the more that I understood this, the more that I wanted to work harder and be the best that I could. Being a dancer is also applicable to the real world, as your motivation and hard work shapes your work ethic. The traits will help you to improve yourself as a person. 

What's important to the work on an artist?

Personally, as long as you touch on person in the audience, you know that you've done your job. And by that I mean that if there's one person who smiles, who says, "this was amazing, it was great," or they laughed, they cried, or whatever emotion or feelings get evoked from the piece, then you know you've done your job. Because that's what dancers do: we hope to bring a story alive, to move the audience without words.

What are some common ballet myths? Why are they wrong?

First of all, I would like to address the myth that "dance is not a sport." Dancers are athletes, we train everyday, we have the same rigorous demand in athleticism as like football or gymnastics. I don't think people really understand the physical, emotional, and mental demand dance requires. Because it is so rigorous, it has the right to be a sport. In a way, we are artistic athletes. 

The second myth I would like to address is that "dancers do not eat," which is simply not true. I assure you, we do eat.  Yes, although everyone is different as some people may not need to consume as much, we all still need to fuel our bodies in order to meet the demanding 12 hours a day that dance requires. What you may see in mainstream T.V. is not what you may see in real life. So, if you live in a city that has a ballet company, I suggest you go to it. That's your eye-opener right there, when you realize that real life circumstances are different from what is displayed on media. 

Lastly, the myth that "ballet is not hard" is also not true. What you see on stage in only half of what you don't see off stage. For the two hours that you see on stage is 2 months of what we do backstage, in rehearsals and practices. There's a reason why the performance looks so perfect, it's because we literally put our heart and souls into our work. 

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