Perspective: Interview with Ruth Schultz, Student, The John Cranko School

Name: Ruth Schultz
Age: 16
Where are you from? Westchester County, NY
Where do you currently live/train? Before the quarantine, I was living and training in Stuttgart, Germany, at the John Cranko School of the Stuttgart Ballet Company.
Favorite role(s) performed: Les Sylphides and Flames of Paris
Dream role: Kitri, Don Quixote

Ruth Schultz © Rachel Neville Ruth Schultz © Rachel Neville Photography

Tell us a little about yourself! How and when did you begin dancing? 
I started dancing when I was about four years old. My mom used to be a professional ballet dancer in Portugal, so when she saw I liked dancing, she began working with me. At six years old, I entered a local ballet school, and two years later I joined Westchester Dance Academy in Mount Kisco, New York. 

What has your dance journey been like, so far? Where did you train prior to The John Cranko School?
At WDA, I trained in many different styles of dance, my favorite at the time being lyrical. I also competed in many competitions including: New York City Dance Alliance, Nuvo and Jump. To focus more on ballet, I trained in Portugal and then at Greenwich Ballet Academy; at twelve, I joined Ellison Ballet. While I was there, I was strongly taught in the Vaganova method by amazing teachers who pushed me and trained me well. I competed in YAGP, and I placed Top Twelve at the YAGP Finals. I was close to the youngest in the senior age category. 

Why did you decide to move to Germany and train at The John Cranko School? 
I felt that I needed to further expand my horizons in order to continue improving and growing. 

In your experience, are there many differences between dance training in Germany vs. training in the U.S.? 
For me, having chosen to train in schools emphasizing the Vaganova technique, the core training is similar, as the teachers all trace their teaching roots to Russia. 

Ruth Schultz at YAGPRuth Schultz Performing at YAGP

What are your favorite parts of living abroad? What have been the most challenging aspects? 
I love the cities in Germany. Everything is so beautiful, and the architecture is amazing. The most challenging aspect for me is learning German and communicating with the locals. In the school, it's not really a problem as most people speak English. 

Can you tell us about some of your favorite dance memories, so far? 
Being blessed to dance solos on the Lincoln Center stage in the YAGP Final Round is my best memory, so far. 

Do you have any partnerships or collaborations with any dance wear companies? 
I have worked with Gaynor Minden in the past. I was a Gaynor Girl a few years back, and since then, I have done some fittings and modeling with them. I have always loved working with their staff, as they are very nice and accommodating. 

What is something interesting that people might not know about you? 
I would say the fact that I have four brothers is always interesting. My mom has homeschooled us all from when we were little kids. My oldest brother is entering a top university this year.

How have you been spending your time the past few months? 
Dance, school, and spending quality time with my family. It's always great to be able to give my parents hugs... in person!

Ruth Schultz © Rachel Neville PhotographyRuth Schultz © Rachel Neville Photography

How are you staying active, both mentally and physically, during this extended time off from dancing? 
My teacher at JCS is doing live Zoom meetings with my class, so we still get to train with her and get feedback. I do my own workouts as well, trying to focus on the things that I don't consider my strengths. 

What’s been the most challenging part of the pandemic for you as a dancer? 
Definitely the space and the floor. Thankfully, I have a reasonably large room to practice in, but it's still not a studio. Due to the time differences in a class with students scattered all around the world, it's also hard to schedule a time for classes that's good for everyone, so I usually end up having class at 7:00 or 8:00 am. 

Have you taken up any new hobbies or interests during your time at home? 
I have always loved creating things with my hands, so I have recently become interested in embroidery. It's a fun way to pass the time, and I get something beautiful in the end.

What’s next for Ruth? 
I will be at JCS this coming year, working toward my overall goal of joining a company and dancing well enough to become a soloist or principal. 

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