Zarely caught up with Sonia Rodriguez, principal ballerina with The National Ballet of Canada, during her tour in Paris.
1) Did you have the goal of becoming a professional throughout your student career? What made you decide to become professional?
As a young dancer I did not dance thinking that it was something I would do as a job, I still do not think of it as a job. I always have danced because I have a need to express myself, my ideas, my feelings, because of the pure joy of that I get from expressing music through my body. I feel privileged to be able to make a living doing something I love so very much.
2) Who inspired you the most as a student? Who inspires you the most now?
Unlike the generation today I did not have access to a lot of professional ballet growing up. Most of what I saw was in tv or from recordings that other friends had. I did not in fact see a life performance until I was 13 or so. I never had an idol that I looked up to or tried to be like. Today I feel inspired by my peers. Watching their vitality and passion on stage gives me a renewed love from performing and the beauty of my art form.
3) Which ballet character do you associate yourself the most with? Why?
I cannot think of one specific character, there are many aspects of different characters that a relate with specially as I became more mature and had a bigger spectrum of experiences to draw from. One of the things I love most of what I do is the ability to became someone else on stage, to dig deep into a character and understand it so fully, that you can believe you are that person while you are performing.
4) If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
There are going to be ups and downs and it is all part of becoming who you are. The ups will be the moments you will work hard for but the downs will be the ones that make you stronger.
5) What keeps you inspired in your career, especially when you have the same show night after night?
I am at a point in my career where I am enjoying every single moment I get to be on stage, and every opportunity to do so feels like a gift. I have the maturity and understanding of who I am as an artist and that gives me the ability to fully enjoy the present moment when I am performing.
6) How do you manage to combine successful ballerina career and motherhood?
It is much easier now that my boys are older, but just like any other working mother, it was a challenge. The hardest thing to balance was the schedules and the physical demands of rehearsing for 7 hours a day and then having energy to deal with two very physical boys. I think in a way it made me stronger and without a doubt more balanced in my life, but I am not sure I would have been able to managed as well if it was not for the support and love of my mom.
Sonia Rodrigues on Instagram
Photographer: Geoffrey Mittre
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