Name: Daniel Ayala
Where are you from? Bogota, Colombia
Where do you currently live/train? Currently, I am working on getting my Visa changed so that I can remain the U.S.A. to continue my training and gain more experiences. While in the U.S., I stay with my pas de deux partner's family and train at St. Lucie Ballet in Port Saint Lucie, Florida.
Favorite role(s)/ballet(s) performed: Clown, Fairy Doll; Colas, La Fille Mal Gardee
Dream role(s)/ballet(s): Franz, Coppelia; Prince Albrecht, Swan Lake
Tell us a little about yourself! How and when did you begin dancing?
I started musical theater at the age of seven but always had a strong passion for dance in general. I even performed on Broadway in the musical, La Mas Grande Historia Jamas Cantada, at the age of eleven. So, I made the decision to start ballet training at the age of fourteen with a local school, Ballarte, and immediately fell in love with the art form. I then became obsessed with it!
How did you decide to come to the United States, and what has your dance journey been like, so far?
My ballet teacher thought I should take a summer intensive at Ellison Ballet in New York City, and after that, she brought us to compete in the Miami International Ballet Competition. While at the competition, I was offered an opportunity with the Ft. Lauderdale Youth Ballet to do some guest dancing with their gala. I was also presented with another opportunity, to partner with Isabella McCool at the International Ballet Festival of Miami, Grand Premier Invitational, St. Augustine International Dance Festival, Treasure Coast Ballet Gala, Youth American Grand Prix, St. Lucie Ballet's, The Nutcracker, and Universal Ballet Competition.
I know you have a dancing partnership with Isabella McCool!
(And you even have an Instagram account for the two of you, @balletfor2!) Can you tell us about some of your favorite dance memories together?
I love Isa! I have so many that I would want to tell you, but two of my favorites are that I got to spend Christmas with her and her family; they made me feel special and loved in their home. Second, was during the Treasure Coast Ballet Gala. We missed a lift during our Pas de Deux, and we were devastated, but it taught us how important communication is to making partnering successful. Soon after, while competing at YAGP, we placed first and were invited to the New York finals. @Balletfor2 was started as a a way for Isa and I to share with the ballet community our journey and what it takes to have a successful partnership. [We want] to show our growth and give back to dancers just starting on their journey.
Do you have any pre-performance rituals or routines?
I always call my mom before getting ready to perform! I love music, so I always make sure to have my AirPods in, and I make sure that I have properly warmed myself up!
What is your favorite part of dancing? Do you have any favorite steps?
I love that the audience never sees how much work goes into the performance. I love all the hard work leading up to the show, and that it is so challenging each and every day. My favorite steps are double saut de basques and saut de chats.
What’s the most challenging aspect of ballet, for you?
For me, the most challenging aspect of ballet is finding the perfect balance between artistry and technique because you need to have both.
Can you describe your experience living and training in the United States?
So far, I have loved the experiences I have been able to have. I am growing and changing so much! That is why I am working to make this a more permanent situation.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Attitude is everything! Your results are based on how much you believe in yourself. Your body is capable of everything is your mind is on board.
Do you have any partnerships or collaborations with any dancewear brands or other dance related companies?
During UBC, I won the first ever So Danca Best in Class Award, making me an ambassador for So Danca, Balletwear, and Jane's Dance Boutique.
What is something interesting that people might not know about you?
From the ages of eight to eleven, I was in many T.V. commercials in South America. (I only tell me best of friends this!) Also, I LOVE old music like Frank Sinatra.
What’s next for Daniel? What are your short term and long term plans/goals?
MY short term goals are to be able to train and work in the United States and to perform in as many ballets as possible so that I can improve my partnering, jumps, turns, and artistry. Also, I am learning to drive!
My long term goals are to make it to either the Royal Ballet or the Birmingham Royal Ballet and get to dance amazing classical and contemporary repertoire-hopefully with Isa! After some time, [I hope to] make it to the level of Principal Dancer.