Cover Photo: Shannon Moore, photographed by Christian Moore
How and when did you get your start in dance?
My older sister was a dancer, so I grew up around it. As my sister’s class would go on water break, two year old me would be crawling into the studio to try their dance steps. My mom was told by a teacher to enroll me and to not let me quit… and she did!
I know you’re currently a Trainee at Ballet West! What was your journey like to get there?
Lots of twists and turns that I never would have guessed would lead me to where I am today. I started at a small dance studio near my house and basically lived at dance. I’m so thankful for my start to dance and credit my versatility to my first dance studio, River Valley Dance Academy. At age fifteen, with the advice of my teachers, I moved to a ballet studio to focus on ballet specifically. I’m very blessed to have the amazing ballet training I had during my formative years at Ballet Royale Minnesota. At age seventeen, I became an Apprentice with Twin Cities Ballet, at which I learned a lot about professionalism and responsibility.
Can you share with us some of your favorite aspects of being a Ballet West Trainee?
The environment is one of the healthiest I’ve come across in my years of dancing, and it is very conducive to good comradery among all of the dancers. I also love all of the faculty and feel like I am constantly learning from them.
Shannon Moore, photographed by Christian Moore
Where do you ultimately hope to take your career as a dancer? Do you have any performance goals, dream companies, or other dance aspirations?
Of course I’d love to be a professional ballet dancer with a company that values work ethic, talent, and character. Specific companies I’ve always dreamt of are Ballet West and American Ballet Theatre. I also have a lot of passion for musical theatre, tap, jazz, and contemporary that I never want to lose. I’d love to be one of the dancers in Matilda, Finding Neverland, or Phantom Of The Opera on Broadway! As long as I’m on stage performing, I’m happy.
If you weren't a dancer, what would you be doing?
I’d like to say I would stay in the performing arts or entertainment worlds.
Do you have any other favorite hobbies or unusual talents?
I have a love for philosophy, so I’m always trying to read and learn more about that. In addition to that, I’ve been doodling little sketches in my free time—they aren’t great, but it’s very calming to me.
What is something that not many people know about you?
I’m not a very “girly” person, and if I’m not dancing, I prefer to be outdoors in nature.
Do you have any special pointe shoe or dancewear prep routines?
My ballet teacher ingrained into me the importance of darning my pointe shoes, and now I never skip it. I also ¾ my shoes to help them last longer.
What is one thing you always keep in your dance bag?
Food! If my blood sugar is low, I can’t perform my best, and I’m probably not very pleasant to be around.
What has been your favorite on-stage memory or a performance you’ll never forget, and why?
Performing Clara in the Nutcracker with Twin Cities Ballet at age nineteen. It was my closing show with the company, and I felt I could really let go and enjoy what I was doing. I also will never forget performing a hip hop routine at a Timberwolves game when I was thirteen.
What’s a step/combination in class that you always look forward to doing?
Pirouettes or any fast moving combination.
What’s something you’re actively working to improve upon in your dancing?
Not showing tension in my upper body and lengthening my lines.
What does a day in the life of Shannon look like?
I wake up at 6:00 a.m. and read some Bible verses, then I’ll start getting ready for dance. I make sure to eat a good breakfast and warm up at least forty-five minutes before my first class starts.
My dance day can vary greatly depending on what we are rehearsing. Some days I’ll have dance from 10:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., and other times I might be at the studio until 7:00 p.m.
On the days I end earlier in the afternoon, I go to my part time job. After a long day, I find it crucial for me to talk to my family and check in. My roommates and I are always rotating between T.V. shows and movies to keep ourselves entertained in the evening, as well.
What is a challenge you've faced as a dancer and how did/do you work to overcome it?
As many dancers do, I tend to put a tremendous amount of pressure on myself, and a lot of the time, it’s counterproductive for me. That perfectionism has led me at times to forget why I started dancing in the first place. Thankfully, I have family and loved ones who remind me to let go of that inner voice that tells me I’m not good enough.
Do you have any advice for other aspiring young artists?
Don’t rely on people’s approval to fuel your passion for what you do. Approval is fleeting and can be just a matter of opinion, but love for what you do can’t be easily changed. Try to remember the very first reason you enjoyed dancing in the first place, and remind yourself of that on the hard days.
How do you #FeelGoodDanceBetter?
Cross training such as Pilates or Progessive Ballet Technique are some of my favorite ways to keep my body in check. However, my mind needs just as much cross training and attention. I like to read, work, or draw to expand my mind beyond ballet. Hanging out with loved ones and eating good food never hurts either!