Name: Angela Wood
Hometown: Denver, Colorado
Where you currently live/dance: London, English National Ballet
Favorite role(s) you’ve performed: Principal roles in both Liam Scarlett’s No Man’s Land and William Forsythe’s Approximate Sonata 2018
What kind of pointe shoes do you wear? Suffolk
How and when did you get your start in dance?
My mom had wanted the both of us to dance in a Christmas production. The director suggested I try some ballet classes. I spent seven happy years at Colorado Ballet Society and flew to England to join the Royal Ballet School at 17.
When did you realize you wanted to dance professionally?
I quickly fell in love with ballet (although I hated the tights!). The athletic discipline consumed me, and I was constantly inspired by the artistic and personal side of dancing, too. For me, it’s the most daring portrayal of physics, art, and humanity.
Sam Churchill Photography
What was your path to dancing professionally like?
My path was reasonably straight forward. At Royal Ballet School I was selected to rehearse with the corps de ballet, which prepared me for the inherent challenges of dancing in the corps of any company. I also had opportunities I’m proud of with both Liam Scarlett and Alastair Marriott creating two pieces on me in my graduate year. These gave me the courage and confidence I needed to thrive in solo roles.
Tell us a little about your experience at ENB and working in Europe.
Sam Churchill Photography
ENB is a very hardworking company and we do many shows in a year. That intensity pushed me into the deep-end to quickly become a seasoned performer.
My favourite ENB opportunity so far has been working with William Forsythe in his Approximate Sonata. He approached coaching in a way that put me completely at ease while feeling fully challenged and empowered.
Working in Europe is wonderful. I’ve had two foot operations cared for and covered by ENB, so in my experience European companies really look after their dancers. As an American in London I feel immersed in the ‘melting pot’ of Europe. I’ve developed a thirst for culture shock!
What does a day in the life of Angela look like?
My day usually starts with a half-hour walk in to work. Kensington streets are glorious, and not unlike the opening credits of a Mary Poppins film. I get to work and do some gentle activations and snack on fruit before class starts. (I would recommend a proper breakfast before training, but I’m a sucker for sleeping in!)
Rehearsals run from 12 to 6:30, and I’ll take lunch and perhaps a physio appointment in that time. After rehearsals I either head home to prepare dinner, FaceTime with family back in the States, or catch a West End show with a friend.
There are always pointe shoes to be sewn or laundry to be done, and I enjoy these quiet moments with a podcast or some classical music.
I know you tour all over with ENB. What’s your favorite place you’ve been/performed, and do you have any tips for touring?
Ah, there have been some incredible places I have toured with ENB. A highlight is definitely Tokyo’s Bunka Kaikan Theatre. Japan will always be one of my favourite places to perform. The Japanese fans are amazing (as is the sushi!). That being said, our season at the London Coliseum is very special. I love being in the hustle and bustle of London during the Christmas season.
Tips for touring: take time to see the city and experience the culture while staying focused and putting on the best show you can for a new audience!
What challenges have you faced in the dance world, and how have you learned to overcome them?
I’ve learnt about resilience through two serious foot operations early in my career. Yes, these took a toll on my confidence and my self-belief, but they also made me realise the strength I possessed. There were hard days and difficult months, but with perseverance and a positive frame of mind I came out the other side and I am still dancing.
Something I think every dancer going through an injury should hear is that time is the ultimate healer. We all endure injuries and low-points, but it’s a chance to become even more resilient despite them, and even empowered by them.
In the words of Steinbeck, ‘now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.’