Maria Chapman

Chapman as Myrta in "Giselle." Photo by Angela Sterling.

With her serene stage presence and powerful, statuesque frame, Pacific Northwest Ballet principal Maria Chapman embodies both grace and strength. The ballerina began studying dance intensively at Terpsichore Co., Ltd., in Atlanta, GA, and continued her training on full scholarship at the School of American Ballet in NYC. Chapman first came to PNB as an apprentice in 1995, joined the main company in 1996 and steadily climbed through the ranks, achieving the title of soloist in 2005 and principal in 2009. Though Seattle audiences know her for her vibrant performances of George Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs, her work extends beyond the theater: In 1998 she helped create Second Stage, a PNB program that supports dancers transitioning into other careers. Check out Chapman performing this month in PNB’s “Love Stories” program.  —Amy Smith

 

Chapman at age 12 in the Boston Ballet summer program. Photo courtesy Maria Chapman.

Dearest Maria,

You are growing up so fast—slow down! You are in a wonderful phase of your life and it will be gone before you realize it. You have the skills you need to take care of yourself, but you don’t have to act like an adult yet. Don’t take yourself so seriously!


Realize that your friends are going through the same things you are. Don’t be afraid to talk to them about your feelings. You will all be friends for life, so you should begin supporting each other now.

Don’t be embarrassed about starting your intensive ballet training a little “late.” You will still make it! You don’t realize it now, but you actually started preparing for your ballet career before you knew it. Gymnastics, running track, playing the violin—these things gave you great tools. Use them. And keep running. It will help you get through that crazy growth spurt!

Whenever you’re frustrated, do something that makes you happy. Taking pleasure in ballet class—or even just homework—will make your problems easier to handle. You are going to dance for a long time, through many ups 
and downs; keeping a positive attitude will make a huge difference.

Be sweet to and confident in yourself. Know that just being you 
is enough. You don’t have to change anything!  



Love,

The grown-up, ballerina you,

Maria Chapman

Latest Posts


(From left) Royal Flux's Malece Miller, Savannah Alexander, and Alexia Meyer (Romark Weiss, courtesy Royal Flux)

Pro Dance Companies Fit for Comp Royalty

For years, it was hard for competition dancers to find professional jobs that made full use of their technical polish, astonishing versatility, and onstage ease. But recently, some (smart) companies have begun recruiting comp kids, drawn to their adaptability and fearlessness. We've compiled a list of nine companies that are fit for comp queens and kings. Get ready to put them on your audition radar.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Project 21 dancers (from left) Selena Hamilton, Gracyn French, and Dyllan Blackburn (Photo by Quinn Wharton; hair and makeup throughout by Angela Huff for Mark Edward Inc.)

How Project 21 Is Shaping the Next Generation of Competition-Dance Standouts

"I wish I had a better story about the name," says Molly Long, founder of the Orange County, CA–based dance studio Project 21. In truth, it's a play on the fact that she was born on the twenty-first of August, and 21 is her favorite number. "I was away on a teaching tour, the audition announcement was going live on Instagram the next day, and I desperately needed a name. Project 21 was just the least cheesy of the options I thought of!"

The fact that fans might expect the name to have some profound meaning speaks to the near-mythic status Project 21 has achieved on the competition and convention scene since its founding in 2014. Long's dancers are all wholly individual, yet jell seamlessly as a group, and are consistently snagging top prizes everywhere on the circuit. Each season brings a slew of new accolades, high-caliber faculty, and legions of devoted followers.

The industry has taken notice of the studio's unique ethos. "Molly gets through to her dancers in a special way, and they have this incomparable level of commitment to their craft as a result," says dancer and choreographer Billy Bell, who's worked closely with Long and her dancers. "That's what sets them apart—it's like a little dose of magic."

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search