THE FIRST SOLOIST WITH THE ROYAL BALLET
Team Zarely: When did you start ballet lessons?
Melissa Hamilton: At four but I would say my "serious" training began at 17 during my second year in a vocational ballet school.
Team Zarely: Did you decide to become a ballerina by yourself or was it your parents’ decision?
Melissa Hamilton: It was totally my decision. I was lucky that my parents fully supported me in this choice but played no part in pushing it.
Team Zarely: What do you think is the hardest part about being a ballerina?
Melissa Hamilton: As an art form, ballet can be incredibly subjective. I find it challenging that the path your career may take can sometimes feel somewhat out of your control.
Team Zarely: And when aspiring young dancers ask for your advice what do you recommend them
Melissa Hamilton: To remember you are a constant work in progress, but to never lose sight of how much progress you have made. It is easy to get consumed by the need to constantly improve and forget that each moment we have in this profession should be lived, appreciated and cherished.
Team Zarely: What do you dream about? Anything – related to ballet or not.
Melissa Hamilton: Up until last month my dream had always been to dance the role of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake. I made my debut with Semperoper Ballett in February and it was a true moment of affirmation. That no matter how unreachable your dreams appear at times, if you are willing to do whatever it takes, dreams can become a reality. Now I guess it's time to start dreaming again :)
Team Zarely: What in your opinion is the main talent or ability of a great ballerina?
Melissa Hamilton: To find ways to continue growing and developing. I feel a ballerina finds herself by addressing her weaknesses whilst building on her strengths. Relying on talent alone is often nowhere near enough in reaching your full potential.
Team Zarely: Melissa, h ave you got any hobbies?
Melissa Hamilton: I love reading. I find it is a great way to give my mind a rest time from my own thoughts.
Team Zarely: Is there any sport activity you do in your free time such as yoga, pilates, jogging etc?
Melissa Hamilton: Normally I use my free time to rest and recover :)
Photos by Gene Schiavone and Nigel Norrington.