Enjoy this week’s Movement and Conversation Wednesday entry, all in fun. A dancer’s profile, with a wrap up with why she feels the integration of dance and health is vital. More to come . . .
Name: Courtney Connor Jones
Vocation: Soloist at Cincinnati Ballet
Defining Moment on Stage to Date: One of the most memorable moments of my career was when I was given the opportunity to dance the Chosen One in Adam Hougland’s, Rite of Spring. As it often happens with 3rd casters, I was barely part of the learning process, and since the other 2 girls were our principals I just KNEW I wouldn’t get to dance it! Sadly, both the girls got injured the week before show. However, this twist of faith threw me into the part. The idea was still that I was the understudy, and a dancer from Tulsa (who had just spent the last 2 weeks learning the part) would be flying in to perform it instead. I spent the weekend learning the part on a DVD and by Monday they were pleasantly surprised by my progress. It was a good thing too because it turned out that the dancer from Tulsa had injured her back!! I was beginning to wonder if the part was cursed when I got the worst corn I have ever had on my foot and had to perform with a huge hole in my shoe!
Stravinsky’s music is utterly invigorating, which overtook my body and emotions on stage to a level I still can’t quite put into words. Dancing Adam’s amazing choreography, allowing myself to act out a complete mental breakdown, and laying in a puddle of water is an experience I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life. I know that the artistic team put me onstage with their fingers crossed, and I am so grateful for having had the opportunity to push myself to the limit both physically and emotionally.
Favorite Style of Dance: As cliché as it may sound, my favorite style of dance is classical ballet. It is the oldest, purest, and yet most difficult form of dance that we have. In order to be a classical ballet dancer, you have to train your body to do precisely the opposite of what it naturally wants to do in order to give the illusion of ease, as well as keeping your body injury free. It is also my favorite because of the challenge of balancing technique with performance quality. You can be an exceptional technician and bore an audience to death, or, you can have less technique and move an entire theater to tears because of your passion and artistry. To me, this is what makes classical ballet so timeless and intriguing. There is always something to improve on, and always someone to be inspired by.
Inspiration: Another cliché! YouTube! Whenever I am feeling complacent or uninspired, I search YouTube for videos of my favorite ballerinas! I love Julie Kent, Ana Cojucaro and all those beautiful Russian ballerinas! Cincinnati Ballet will be doing Swan Lake in October, so I have been watching some videos of Pas De Trois and Big Swans (hopefully I will get to do these)!
Favorite Energy Breakfast: Well first thing’s first. I have to get the coffee or tea pot going! I rotate between a few “menus” such as a boiled egg and smoked salmon, an egg and cheese sandwich with organic sprouted grain bread, or cooked quinoa with olive oil. Unfortunately, I am not always hungry in the morning! But I still bring it to work with me and make sure I eat it sometime before we begin our rehearsals. I am also a huge fan of homemade probiotic drinks such as kefir or kombucha; so I usually bring along a bottle of one of those to keep me hydrated and energized throughout the day.
Favorite food to make in the kitchen: Pizza! My husband is quite the chef and loves to make things from scratch, so we thoroughly enjoy making a pizza from top to bottom, with herbs and tomatoes from the garden. Oh and fresh cheese from the market! Mmmmmm!
Favorite thing to do on a “day off” from Work: Sleep in! Then I like to take care of various errands that we don’t get to during the week. I also like to read, make jewelry, or work in the garden.
How do you blow off steam: I go to a quiet place (or just try to quiet my mind if I can’t leave where I am), take some deep breaths and say a prayer for patience!
What is your ideal night after ballet/work all day: Coming home and cooking a healthy dinner with my hubby accompanied with a drink and conversation about our day or whatever has been on our minds lately!
Why do you think integration of dance and health is needed: A dancer’s body is their everything! In order to dance and feel your best, it is so important to treat your body well inside and out. Now more than ever, health awareness and education is so crucial for dancers at every level. I believe a greater focus should spotlight recent new discoveries on the processed food industry including GMO’s (genetically modified organism, yum :/ ), and the temptation of “grab and go” foods that lack any kind of nutritional value. Going back to the basics of a diet based on fruits, veggies, and “clean” meats or other sources of protein is a must!
What’s next for you: Currently, another dancer and I are researching and experimenting with DIY (and chemical free!) household products. We plan on coming out with a book that is budget and health friendly!