Happy Nutcracker time! Do Dancers out there need some inspiration to help your momentum accelerate during this Nutcracker season? Read from Angelina Sansone, who writes a beautiful interview about why she dancers, what motivates her as a dancer, and why she feels the source of health and dance integration is pivotal to the current and future world of dance.
Name: Angelina Sansone
Vocation: Professional ballet dancer with Kansas City Ballet
Style: I hate to think of the dancer I’d be without the exposure I’ve had to many different styles of dance. Each style has required the honing of particular skills both technically and artistically. Having a career that has allowed for a variety of stylistic opportunities, has not only made me a more well rounded dancer physically, but mentally keeps me excited, learning, and inspired. It also has left me with a large list of choreographers I would love to learn from. Some ballets that have left a significant impact on my thought process as a dancer are Balanchine’s Mozartiana, Tudor’s Dark Elegies, Twyla’s Catherine Wheel, Giselle, and working with Gabrielle Lamb in the creation of a new work (Staged by Susan Pilarre, Donald Mahler, Shelley Washington, Karen Brown). I attribute a lot of these ballets lasting impact on me to some great stagers/choreographers. Their attention to detail and the knowledge they imparted has remained relevant to me throughout my career. They imprinted the style, mood, and intention of each piece so deeply that once I got to the stage, I was able to fully immerse myself into the roles.
Inspiration: Simply put, my inspiration comes from something I read in an interview with Julie Kent as young dancer. She stated that dance was important because we added true beauty to the world. I really liked that though we aren’t solving world problems, or saving lives, we use our bodies to communicate beautiful fleeting moments that can move an audience in only the way dance can. That’s important to me.
Dancewear: Eleve Dancewear (Angie also Model’s for Lisa Choules company, Eleve).
Energy breakfast: Ok, I’m not great in the morning. Finding a quick easy breakfast food is a challenge. But, about a year ago my normal toaster oven broke and when looking to replace it I discovered the greatest invention. A toaster oven that not only toasts my bread but steams an egg and a piece of turkey or spinach. Breakfast sandwich made! Ready for the day.
What do you do to “Blow off Steam”?: I have learned that I am my happiest self when my world is larger than ballet. As much joy as this crazy job I have gives me, I think it’s important to like my life outside the studio too. In a career where achieving perfection is the end goal, there is an obsessive place that a dancer’s mind can fall into. Honestly, I think it takes some amount of that obsession to be an artist but, I’ve found that keeping my life open to different kinds of people, interests, and experiences gives me a wider perspective and keeps me on the healthy side of that line.
Day off: Whatever makes me happy. …. crossing things off the To-do list, gardening, having a lazy day with my husband and furry babies, board games or movies marathons with friends, organizing my closet, calling home, craft projects. . . Bath, ice, massage, coconut oil and back to work.
Why integration health & dance integration is important? Health and dance need to be integrated fully in any dancer’s mind. We ask a lot from our bodies and listening to it and taking preventative measures to keep it injury free is good not only for our lives as a dancer, but life post ballet. I think you should be taught how to do your taxes in high school. Similarly, young dancers, would benefit tons from health integration in dance education. A basic knowledge of anatomy, comparisons between eastern and western approach to injury, knowledge of the benefits of physical therapy, massage, chiropractic work, acupuncture, cross training options, Pilates, Gyrotonics, swimming, and yoga is practical and needed. I also believe nutrition information catered to dancers, as well as honest and open conversations about mental health (ex: lows and highs of a dancers life) is a large missing component in this forum of education.
What’s next? Settling into the familiarity of Nutcracker season, winter ready the yard, finally making wedding photo album, and enjoying the festive celebrations all around KC.