Almost two years ago, Destiny Wimpye shared her goals and dreams with Dance Spirit readers, and left us with this quote: "Following your dreams is definitely difficult, especially if you're a ballet dancer of color. You have to work twice as hard, but hard work always pays off!"
Who could have guessed that right now—yes, even in the midst of a pandemic—we'd be seeing that hard work pay off for her? Wimpye, now 17, was invited to train in the Professional Division at Pacific Northwest Ballet, and we're fouettéing with excitement! Dance Spirit caught up with her to chat about this exciting new chapter in her life, how she's training through pandemic restrictions, and her overall experience transitioning from student to professional dancer.
Be sure to keep up with her journey at PNB and beyond @destinywimpye, and, as always #FollowYourDestiny. —Nyamekye Smith
Dance Spirit: How has life been since you last spoke with Dance Spirit?
Destiny Wimpye: Life has been pretty crazy! My end-of-the-year shows at The Colburn School were canceled and PNB's course was virtual due to COVID-19. Even though that was really difficult for me, I was working really hard over the summer and was offered an amazing opportunity. I recently relocated to Seattle to train at Pacific Northwest Ballet in the PD program and I'm loving everything about it so far!
DS: What have you done to stay in dancing shape during quarantine?
DW: I took multiple virtual ballet classes while also really focusing on strengthening my body and technique. A lot of us are not in studios all day every day anymore, but there are small details that we can work on from home that can really make a difference in our dancing.
DS: What sort of mindset do you think a dancer needs to develop to get selected for the PD program?
DW: I feel that you have to be ready to grow not just technically but artistically. It's not all about what tricks you can do or how great your technique is. I think at this point it's about what makes you stand out as a dancer and as an artist.
DS: What was going through your mind when you were finally on the plane to Seattle?
DW: I was definitely nervous, but I was more excited for this new opportunity and chapter in my life. I just couldn't wait to start classes and learn from the amazing teachers here.
(Rachel Neville, courtesy Wimpye)
DS: What has been the most challenging part of your dance journey so far?
DW: The most challenging part for me was going from training in multiple styles of dance and then focusing on ballet, which I felt was my strong suit.
DS: What has been your favorite part about the experience as a whole?
DW: Being able to train with many amazing teachers who all inspire me in different ways. Also, I'm happy I am able to inspire others with my story and my journey.
DS: Last year, you told us your favorite nondance hobby was shopping. Has that shifted at all during quarantine, or have you just shifted your love of shopping online?
DW: I do still love shopping! But now I really enjoy finding new things to cook for myself. While being here in Seattle, I discovered that I really love trying new recipes.
DS: What advice would you give to a dancer wanting to follow in your footsteps?
DW: Don't be ashamed of your journey and what you have accomplished. Every dancer is different and will experience their highs and lows at different times.