Name: Grace Curry
Hometown: Orland Park, Illinois
Where you currently live/dance: A&A Ballet in Chicago
Favorite roles you've performed: I love all the roles I've performed because I feel like I get to learn something new from every part I dance, but my absolute favorite has been Aurora. I really enjoyed this role because I felt like it helped me grow a lot and mature as an artist. I also loved working on all the partnering and challenging technical aspects as well.
What kind of pointe shoes do you wear?
I wear Russian Pointe Bravas.
How and when did you get your start in dance?
When I was 2, my Mom enrolled me in a mommy and me class, but I hated it and wouldn't do it.
Then when I was in kindergarten I started taking jazz, contemporary, and ballet at a local studio.
I liked all forms of dance, but when I was 10 I asked my mom to find me a more serious ballet program. I would say that I really got serious about ballet when I was 11 after my first YAGP.
When did you realize you wanted to dance professionally?
I think that I realized I wanted to become a professional ballerina after I spent my first summer away from home at the ABT New York summer intensive when I was 12.
I felt so inspired after taking classes and learning from so many amazing teachers - they were all past dancers at ABT. Julie Kent was one of my teachers that year, and I was absolutely starstruck by her beauty and grace. I tried to soak up as much as I could from her and all of my teachers.
I also loved peeking in to watch the professionals in rehearsal. I remember watching Stella Abrera, Gillian Murphy, and Isabella Boylston and thinking that I wanted to be like them someday. This experience left me so inspired to work hard every day to make my dreams come true.
Tell us a little about your experience at A&A Ballet and working with Anna Reznik and Alexei Kremnev.
I think that choosing to train at A&A Ballet with Anna and Alexei three years ago was one of the best decisions I ever made!
They have helped me grow tremendously over the past years, not only from a technical standpoint but also as an artist. They are so experienced and have so much knowledge that they share with me every day to help me improve.
Mr. Alexei always inspires me to work harder, and he gives me so many good tips for improving my technique and making my dancing stronger.
Ms. Anna helps me so much with all the details and nuances like port de bras and finger placement, and I love learning how to improve my artistry from her. It means so much to me that they believe in me and have helped me to grow these past 3 years.
What does a day in the life of Gracie look like?
I wake up around 6:30 every morning, and the first thing I do is roll out my muscles.
I then get ready for dance and eat a healthy breakfast before I take the train into the city with my Dad. We have over an hour long commute downtown.
I get to the studio about an hour before class starts so I have time to stretch and warm up before we begin class. I have classes and rehearsals from 10:00-3:00 every day, and several times a week I have an hour-long private lesson after my classes.
After my classes/private lessons I do my school work while I wait at the studio for my dad to finish work before we take the train back home. I usually get home between 6:00 and 7:00 depending on the day.
Once I'm home, I eat dinner and catch up with my little sisters and brother. I find time to do an exercise video to work on strength training and balance every night. I love using my bosu ball, yoga ball, and RP exercise bands for this.
I then study until around 10:30-11:00 every night. Then it's lights out, and it starts all over again the next morning.
I know you've recently traveled to and performed in Guatemala. What was that like?
Performing in Guatemala was such an amazing experience that I will never forget!
It was my first international festival, and the people there made me feel so special. They even presented me with a glass slipper award that was hand made by a local artisan.
It was so inspiring to meet everyone after the performance, especially all of the little girls aspiring to be ballerinas! It was also really cool to get to revisit the role of Cinderella a year later and see what different things I could bring to the role.
I also had a different partner this time, and we only got to rehearse together for a week before the performance. That was challenging, but also very rewarding. I, of course, loved performing, and I feel so lucky to have had this incredible experience.
What challenges have you faced in the dance world, and how have you learned to overcome them?
The dance world is very small, which also makes it very competitive at times.
People are watching your every move, and there can be a lot of pressure to do everything perfectly. It has been hard at times to deal with people who are not very supportive or who are jealous.
I learned that I needed to find a group of friends who really support me. We all encourage and help each other, and always want the best for one another. I know that my good friends will always be there for me to help me through challenging times.
What are some of the most important lessons you've learned so far as a dancer?
Ballet has definitely taught me that some things take a lot of patience, persistence, and hard work.
I have learned that I need to focus on myself and my improvement in my dancing, and to not get caught up in what everyone else is doing.
Everyone improves at different paces and in different ways, and that is perfectly okay!
Although it can be very difficult, I try to not get too frustrated and just continue to work as hard as I can and stay focused.