Erica Cornejo in "Swan Lake." Photo by Gene Schiavone.

With her lovely, expressive face and delicately refined port de bras, Boston Ballet principal Erica Cornejo seems tailor-made for soft, feminine roles like Giselle and Odette—and her nuanced portrayals of those heroines have earned her critical acclaim. But then she busts out her explosive jump in Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room, or gleefully tosses off multiple fouettés as Odile, and it becomes clear that this Argentinean beauty has a bit of fire in her, too. Cornejo began training at the Arts Institute of the Colón Theatre in Buenos Aires at the age of 4. (Her brother Herman, now a principal at American Ballet Theatre, soon followed her to ballet class.) She joined ABT’s Studio Company in 1998, was made a full company member that same year, and by 2002 was promoted to soloist. Four years later, she joined Boston Ballet as a principal. Today Cornejo, who is married to former BB principal Carlos Molina, continues to wow audiences in both classical and contemporary repertoire.  —Margaret Fuhrer

Dear Erica,

The world of ballet is beautiful and powerful. You will get to experience the most amazing feelings through dance and music. It will be magical!

Of course, as in everything else, the negative comes with the positive. In ballet there is plenty of competition. Some people will try to make you feel down, but others will say beautiful things about you. Dance is a demanding profession that is very challenging physically. To succeed, you will have to train many hours and absorb everything you are taught so you can apply all the details and get better and better.

You will need to be mentally strong to be able to overcome the difficulties of your career. Don’t be afraid. Whatever you do, do it with your heart. Don’t do anything just to please others. Remember that your dance experiences will contribute to your development as a person as well as an artist.

Enjoy what you do; be proud and happy. You have chosen an art that will enrich your soul. With love, passion and dedication, nothing is impossible.

Erica Cornejo

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