Perspective: Interview with Kirov Academy of Washington D.C. Student, Chloe Han

Name: Chloe Han
Age: 15
Where are you from? I have lived in Georgia my entire life!
Where do you currently live/train? This year I will be training at the Kirov Academy of Washington D.C.
What kind of pointe shoes do you wear? I wear Nikolay Novas in both hard and medium shanks. It’s my favorite shoe I’ve worn, by far!
Favorite ballet or variation? My favorite ballet is definitely La Bayadere, but Le Corsaire is a close second!

How and when did you get your start in dance? Did you love it right away, or did it take some time?

I started dancing for fun when I was around two or three. I don’t think I loved or hated it when I first started, to be honest, but since I've stuck with it all this time, I’ve come to really enjoy it. I love dancing so much. 

I know that you recently announced that you’ll be training this year at the Kirov Academy in their year-round program - CONGRATS! What made you choose that particular program?

Thank you so much! I’m really excited. I was really drawn to Kirov for a number of reasons, but what caught my attention the most was the pure Vaganova training that is taught there. I’ve been around a lot of studios, so I feel that being able to focus on one style and train in it will be really good for my technical improvement.

Chloe Han © Priscilla HanChloe Han © Priscilla Han

What are you most looking forward to as a student at Kirov?

Everything! It’ll be a whole new experience, and I am nervous, of course, but way more excited. I can’t wait for this year to start so I can finally dance in a studio again!

What have you been up to over the last few months during the pandemic? How have you been able to keep up your technique, and have you picked up any new hobbies or interests?

For the most part of quarantine, I’ve been focusing on recovering from my injury and getting stronger by just doing exercises and conditioning at home. I’ve been working to build strength back up by going to my wonderful physical therapist who’s been a big help. As for hobbies, I’ve gotten obsessed with anime since I had so much time to watch at home, and I’m really happy I did. I love it a LOT; it's super entertaining and addictive, and it actually taught me a lot about life. I’m glad I started watching, and I always try to tell others to start, too! 

What is one product in your dance bag that you can’t live without!?
That’s always a hard question, haha, but if I had to pick only one thing, it would probably be my shoes. Can’t dance without them!

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Someone once told me that life’s greatest lessons are learned through pain. This really stuck with me, and because of my injury this past year, I’ve been able to experience the truth behind those words. Sometimes you have to suffer and go through tough moments in order to mature and gain experience. Even though it seems hard, you always come out stronger and wiser. 

Chloe HanChloe Han

What is an element in your technique that you would like to improve the most? What are you most proud of in your dancing?

There is an endless number of things that need improving, but for me, stamina is what I struggle with most. I want to get back into a daily schedule so I can build up more stamina and endurance so I won’t get tired doing large and fast and long movements. If I can dance longer without getting exhausted as quickly while being able to give all my energy, I think that will help me so much with my overall dancing. I think I’d say I’m most proud of my adagio. I love high-leg, slow, quality movements, and although I still need lots of hard work, I am happy with what I can do for now. 

What is something interesting that people might not know about you? 
I know how to skateboard! I taught myself this summer, and it’s super fun. It takes time and practice to get used to it, but once you do, it’s really enjoyable. It’s also really relaxing, cruising around my neighborhood, listening to music with other friends who can skate, too. If you’re looking for something to do, I’d definitely suggest learning how to skate! 

What’s something you struggle with as a dancer?

I think the hardest thing for me is being able to motivate myself every day and to not give up even when things get difficult. Quarantine was almost like a test to see how much I really wanted to dance, not only because everything was happening online, but because I was recovering from a very bad injury at the time. I had to find it in me to keep at it every day to get stronger so I could dance the way I used to, pre-injury. It taught me a lot about hard work and patience, and I am a little grateful for it, too. I was able to overcome it, and I not only got stronger physically but mentally, too. Of course, building mental toughness takes time, so I am still finding ways to motivate myself every day and remind myself that I’m doing all this to reach my ultimate goal. 

Who inspires you, and why?

Maria Khoreva is probably my favorite dancer of all time. She is so young but has accomplished so much already. Seeing how passionate she is about dance and how hard she works at it motivates me to keep improving myself too. 

Chloe Han © D&B PhotoChloe Han © D&B Photo

Do you have a dream dance company you’d love to join someday?

Yes! The Royal Ballet has been my favorite company for the longest time, and it would be a dream to dance there as a professional. 

Our mantra at PointePeople is #FeelGoodDanceBetter. What do you do as a dancer to take care of your body on a daily basis?
Making sure you listen to your body is something I learned a lot about while going through my injury, and it is very important to me now. Every dancer needs to make sure they take the time to take care of their body, and that means being able to speak up and take a day for yourself if you need it. I always tell myself and others to remember that taking a day off to recover is completely different than slacking off and skipping class or rehearsal. Besides that, some things I do every day are rolling out muscles, drinking a LOT of water, and making sure to stay healthy (eating, conditioning, and getting enough sleep). 

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