Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT
School: Salt Lake City Ballet (Utah, USA) School of Russian Ballet (Marbella, Spain)
Favorite Brand: Grishko, Mariia, and MDM Dancewear
Dream Roles: Giselle and Juliet, both roles incorporate so much emotion and artistry!
Who has been your most influential teacher?
I currently have three amazing teachers, all of whom have played enormous roles in my development as a dancer and human being thus far! Maureen Laird is my ballet mama. I work with her six days a week when I'm in Salt Lake City. She's such a stickler when it comes to technique, so I'm constantly working to improve the finest details of my dancing whether I'm at the barre or on stage. I'm so grateful for this – I absolutely adore her! My two other beloved instructors, Misha Tchoupakov and Regina Zarhina, are both responsible for instilling in me my great love for and dedication to the Vaganova method of ballet training. Because they both trained and danced professionally in Russia, they have incredible wisdom to impart and are truly masters of their craft. I feel so lucky to have this dream team in my life!
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
Some of the best advice ever given to me by my teacher, Misha Tchoupakov, is to "Work smart, not hard!" I've known so many dancers and have been guilty myself of dancing too many hours and thinking that such is the road to improvement when in reality it can be the road to injury. Dancing fewer hours, but really focusing on the fundamentals of proper technique has helped me to improve my dancing without quite so many injuries!
What is your favorite go-to source of healthy energy?
Coconut water is my go-to when I'm at the studio. It's loaded with electrolytes which keep me going. Apple slices with almond butter are my favorite quick pick-me-up. I'm also kind of obsessed with açai bowls right now! Does pizza count as a healthy source of energy?! Because I have THE BEST organic pizza place up the street for my studio and there's nothing better after a long rehearsal!
What does it mean to be a Royal Ballet School International Scholar?
Oh my goodness, being named a Royal Ballet School International Scholar means everything to me! I've always held The Royal Ballet School to the highest esteem and being a part of it seemed like an unattainable dream! To have been invited into the Royal Ballet School family by Mr. Powney and given the opportunity to train there on an ongoing basis is truly a dream come true for me! Being a Royal Ballet School International Scholar pushes me to be better every day. It gives me a standard of excellence to which I may aspire and that is a gift in and of itself.
Walk us through a day in the life of Bella:
I usually start my weekday mornings with either a bowl of oatmeal with berries and coconut milk or a couple of eggs, Ezekiel toast and berries. I then head to the studio to work privately for a couple of hours with Maureen Laird. We usually work on technique at the barre and in the center and then spend time rehearsing any variations that I'm working on. I then eat lunch and depending on the day, head either to my tutor (I homeschool, so I meet with the tutor five days a week to work on my studies) or Pilates (I do this three times a week to build my strength and flexibility). After that, again depending on the day, I might head back to the studio for a couple more hours of group classes consisting of either technique, pointe, contemporary or character. I then head home, have dinner, read, veg out to TV, hang with my family - then go to sleep! Because I'm so active during the day sleep is so important to me. I try to sleep at least 10 hours every night.
Where do you plan to study this summer?
I head to the Royal Ballet School in a few weeks to train at White Lodge. Then, I'm attending Ellison Ballet's Summer Intensive in NYC this July. Finally, I head to Southland Ballet's Summer Intensive in August. I'm so excited to be reunited with friends that I haven't seen in a while!
Who is your dance idol?
For sure the magnificent Svetlana Zakharova. Evgenia Obratsova is another one of my idols!
What is something not many people know about you?
I'm a total geek, haha! I love math, organizing my day planner, and other geeky endeavors.
What is a goal of yours for 2017?
Increasing height of my extensions and back flexibility.
Where do you hope to be in 10 years?
In 10 years, I hope to be dancing on the stage of the Royal Opera House as a member of the Royal Ballet.
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