When I was 3, I told my mom that I wanted to be a ballerina. She thought I just wanted a tutu, so she made me one—but she quickly discovered I was serious! Two years later I started taking ballet classes, and I’ve been dancing ever since. During high school I attended summer programs at the Chautauqua Institution and Boston Ballet, and performed with a youth ballet company. A bad knee injury kept me from auditioning for professional groups, so I ended up at Princeton University, where I discovered choreography (and hip hop!) in a fantastic student-run dance troupe, diSiac Dance Company. College was also where I fell in love with writing. After graduation I pursued a master’s degree in journalism as part of New York University’s Cultural Reporting and Criticism program (where I met my idol, New Yorker dance writer Joan Acocella). Now I’m lucky enough to be combining all of my passions at Dance Spirit.
Five Fun Facts About Margaret:
- My family calls me Meg, but in kindergarten I decided to go by Margaret because I thought it was a better “ballerina name.”
- I have my best gym workouts when I’m listening to ballet music. No, seriously!
- I like raw carrots but not cooked carrots, and baked potatoes but not mashed potatoes.
- I never use the snooze button. I’m fully awake the first time the alarm goes off—or even a minute before. This is a problem on weekends.
- I love dance history so much I wrote a book about it!
When I was 3, I took my first dance class in my hometown of Grand Rapids, MI. I was instantly addicted—I’d often end up performing energetic dance routines to TLC for my family during holiday get-togethers (talk about embarrassing). I participated in The PULSE dance convention throughout high school, and after graduation I worked as a performer at Walt Disney World for a year before enrolling at Columbia College Chicago, where I studied magazine journalism and discovered my love for modern dance. Today, I continue to take classes and perform in workshops at The Ailey Extension, Broadway Dance Center and Gibney Dance. I’m thankful to be in a city where I can write about dance and study with some of my idols!
Five Fun Facts About Mallory:
- At Walt Disney World, I worked as a tour guide for the Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction before starting my training as a performer. I had to learn how to drive a safari truck and memorize the names of 34 species of exotic animals—in two days!
- When I was in grade school, I used to get in trouble at school for skipping classes to read books in secret hiding spots.
- My favorite food is macaroni and cheese—the fancy kind, with various types of cheeses, chicken and jalapeños.
- I have a maltipoo named Topolino, which is “Mickey Mouse” in Italian. He loves to dance on his back two legs!
- I have double-jointed hips, which can be both a blessing and a curse when it comes to dancing.
I didn’t start dancing until I was 9 years old, when my mom suggested that I might be better suited to the dance studio than to gymnastics. She was right. I started out taking ballet, jazz, tap and hip hop, but I quickly became a serious bunhead. In high school I performed with a local student company, directed by two former Sacramento Ballet principals. I went to Hampshire College, where I completed a dual degree in resource politics and performance studies. College introduced me to modern and experimental dance, which fed my ongoing obsession with contemporary dance. Going to college also gave me the opportunity to choreograph my own work, something I continue to pursue. After spending a few years freelancing in Chicago, I’ve landed in New York. I can’t believe I get to dance and write in a city pulsing with so much creative energy!
Five Fun Facts About Nicole:
- When I was a senior in high school I made an onstage mistake in every single one of my performances, including one in front of 2,000 people.
- The only nickname I’ve ever had is Chel-Chel, thanks to college roommates who thought my name was Chelsea.
- I am a voracious reader and I average one book per week. Hit me up for recommendations!
- I love to climb trees and will do so at any opportunity.
- I’ve been in classes with San Francisco Ballet and LINES Ballet principals, and dancers from Gallim Dance and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. How inspiring!
I was 4 years old when my mom thought it would be a good idea to put me on a pony rather than in a dance class. 18 years later, I have no regrets—I had an incredible competitive horseback riding career—but the itch to dance never really disappeared. So, instead of attempting an art form that takes a lifetime to master (not to mention some serious natural ability), I decided to admire dance as a spectator and a student. Attending New York University as a fine arts major was especially eye-opening. There was so, so much amazing dance within NYC. I started going to New York City Ballet and to shows at the Joyce Theater as much as possible, and was lucky enough to witness works of every dance genre by some insanely talented student-choreographers at NYU. Now I’m reading and writing about dance all day, and I couldn’t be more excited!
Five Fun Facts About Olivia:
- My love for ballet began after I first read “Angelina Ballerina.” My mom gave me a pair of pointe shoes with the book, and I still have them (even though I can squeeze maybe three of my toes into them!).
- One time at a horse show, I was in the middle of competing and smiled at the judge as I rode by. She didn’t find it nice or funny and ended up disqualifying me for trying to “manipulate” her judging!
- At New York City Ballet’s Spring 2014 gala, I tripped down the stairs in front of three of the company’s principal dancers…I’m clearly not a ballerina.
- I was born in London and have dual citizenship in the United Kingdom.
- When I was in 4th grade, I wrote a story about a dancer who auditioned for Juilliard and didn’t get in. After experiencing hardships in her life, she decided to give it one more shot and was accepted. It wasn’t until I was older and re-read the story that I realized I had completely ripped off the plot of my (then) favorite movie, “Save the Last Dance,” right down to the dancer’s name. Oops.
(Margaret and Nicole’s headshots by Erin Baiano)