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How did you cope with being away from your family?
I came to US to pursue my dream away from my family, I was 18 years old and it was one the hardest moments of my life. I’m lucky to have a very brave mom that let me move to NYC at such early age. There were days that I wanted to give up. Because of how hard it was, the dancing the people and the fact I didn’t speak the language it’s was a huge combination.Â But Skype helped to put me in contact with my mom and of course she was supportive.
What motivated you to keep pursuing your passion?
I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else other than dancing. There are not many black ballerinas in Brazil. Actually there are none. It’s very sad because I was actually never told I couldn’t dance ballet. I just had few opportunities that came across my path. But I took chances like it was the last thing I could have in my life.
Who has inspired you the most?
My mom is one my biggest supporters. She’s a hard worker and inspired me greatly because as a black woman she came from a poor city and had it hard growing up.
What are your top 3 challengesÂ as a ballerina?
Dealing with the politics of being in a dance company. Although I love what I do, I’m not as financially stable as I would like to be. Also my mom has never seen me dance, due to Visa issues, so IÂ wish she could see me perform. Any time I perform on stage I remember that she could be watching me.
Is race an issue in ballet? If so, how do you stay focused and disciplined?
Race is an issue in the ballet world, but that doesn’t get in the way of me working. You can’t let those things affect you. I’m always focused and disciplined no matter what. That’s part of your job.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your career?
You can do anything you want if Â you’re determined to do it.
What are you top 3 accomplishments?
- I left home at the age of 18 to pursue my dream career as ballet dancer and it worked. I’m living the dream.
- I travel all over the world, and do what I love to do–which is dance.
- I inspire people, who had or have the same dream I did. Showing them that it’s possible if you believe.
What advice do you have for aspiring ballerinas?
Ballet is a full time commitment. If you really love it, dance with your heart. Don’t ever let anyone tell you, you can’t succeed because of your skin color.Â Stay focused, be disciplined and enjoy.
Where are your upcoming performances?
Visit theÂ Dance Theatre of Harlem.com to learn more about the calendar of events,Â Â but I will be performing at the following locations in June:
- June 8: Israel, Tel Aviv Opera house
- June 15: Italy, Ravenna Festival
- June 20: Baltimore, Murphy Fine Arts Center
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