Dores André (Photo by Erik Tomasson, courtesy San Francisco Ballet)

Dores André Writes a Letter to Her Teenage Self

San Francisco Ballet principal Dores André's flair for onstage drama and powerful, picture-perfect technique have solidified her as a company standout. She joined the company in 2004 as a corps member, was promoted to soloist in 2012, and in 2015 was awarded the title of principal dancer. Born in Vigo, Spain, André started studying ballet at age 9 before moving across the country to train seriously at the Estudio de Danza Maria de Avila in Zaragoza at age 13. Later, she headed to the States to audition for SFB and was offered a contract. Catch her dancing this month with the company. —Courtney Bowers


To my past self,

Hey, kid! How are you? I'm not an expert by any means, but I feel like I have some things to say.

First of all, don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. If something bad happens, then it's a funny story you can tell later. Your favorite moments onstage will be the times you took a risk. They'll be the most special or the most disastrous, but either way, those will be your greatest moments, and those performances will be the reason you love what you do.

Give credit and take responsibility. You're going to meet the most incredible teachers, co-workers, and students. You'll learn a great deal from them, so give them the recognition they deserve. When things go wrong, don't blame others—take charge and become better.

André at age 12 (courtesy André)

Yes, you should stand up for yourself (and others)—you're good at that—but know there are many battles, and you won't win them all. Sometimes you just have to do your best and wait. It's not fair, I know, but that's how it is. Make the best of it.

If you don't understand something, ask. Not knowing isn't a negative thing and it won't make you look bad. The opposite is true. Your curiosity will become your biggest asset. Never stop learning, ever.

Don't be too hard on yourself. Trust me, you're fine. Just keep working. Worst-case scenario, you'll learn a lot of amazing things that you can apply everywhere else in life.

And lastly, please stop dyeing your hair. It'll take years to look decent.

Love,

Dores


A version of this story appeared in the February 2018 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "Letter To My Teenage Self: Dores André."

Latest Posts


Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by @mediabyZ

Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo courtesy of Brittany Conigatti

Go Behind the Scenes of Annie Live! With Brittany Conigatti

Unwrap your candy canes, pour the hot chocolate and round up your fellow theater lovers: NBC is kicking off the Christmas season with its latest live-broadcast TV musical. Annie Live! premieres December 2 and features a star-studded cast, including Harry Connick Jr., Tituss Burgess, Megan Hilty and, as the title character, young phenom Celina Smith.

Luckily, people got a taste of what the special will entail when the cast kicked off the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with a performance last week. But since you’re never fully dressed without a Dance Spirit exclusive, we caught up with Brittany Conigatti, one of the young orphans and adult ensemble members in the show, to learn what it was like putting together a large-scale live production for the small screen.

The cast of Annie Live! poses for a group photo. The cast of Annie Live!Photo courtesy of Conigatti


Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search