Filed under: The Ballerina
en l’air’s first featured ballerina is New York City Ballet’s Ashley Bouder. She is one of the many successful dancers who come from Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet in Carlisle, PA (along with SFB’s Tina LeBlanc, Kristin Long, Vanessa Zahorian, NYCB’s Jonathan Stafford, Abi Stafford….the list goes on and on). She then went to SAB for a year and joined NYCB in 2000 and in 2005 was promoted to principal dancer.
en l’air: What are so pet peeves you have when it comes to partnering?
Ashley Bouder: My biggest pet peeve is when my partner stands too close to me. I need my space to feel comfortable. I’ve also had some partners who like to ‘support’ me me while I’m on pointe by slightly lifting me up. It gets very hard to move my legs and feel my own weight as well as making it difficult for my partner to feel my weight leading to a lot of steps done off my balance. My feeling is, I can stand and dance on pointe, I just need help to sustain, not to actually stand up.
en l’air: As a student, did you always have guys in class with you?
Ashley Bouder: In my time at CPYB, yes, I always had guys in class but at SAB, I only had guys in class for partnering.
en l’air: What is your favorite ballet to perform and what is you favorite to just watch?
AB: As far as full lengths go, I really enjoy performing Giselle. A shorter piece I really love is Balanchine’s Rubies. To watch, I really like to see ballets by Macmilla. But I do watch almost everything.
en l’air: What do you do in your spare time? Any hobbies?
AB: I like to sew and knit. I don’t have a lot of spare time, so I usually spend it with good friends.
en l’air: What is your best memory you’ve had onstage?
AB: Dancing Serenade with Kyra Nichols in her retirement. There is a part in the elegy where I do a partnered penchee and offer my hand to her. She looked at me with those big blue eyes and the warmest smile. I’ll never forget that moment.
en l’air: When was your big break through moment?
AB: My big break through was when I was asked to fill in for an injured principal dancer in The Firebird. It was May 2001 and I was 17 years old.
en l’air: What’s the hardest part of being in a company?
AB: The hardest part for me is not having control over my schedule. Some days i rehearse 6+ hours, some none at all. Some weeks I have 7 shows and some none. But it keeps it interesting.
en l’air: What is the best advice someone has given you?
AB: No excuses. It improves or it doesn’t. It’s up to you.