Woodward in Peter Martins' Romeo and Juliet (photo by Paul Kolnik, courtesy New York City Ballet)

NYCB Soloist Indiana Woodward Shares Her Hidden Talents and Pre-Performance Rituals

New York City Ballet soloist Indiana Woodward is turning heads with her energetic presence, precise technique, and crisp musicality. In the past few years, she's made a number of standout debuts, including Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and the lead in Lauren Lovette's first work for the company, For Clara. Woodward was born in Paris, France, and began her dance training at age 10 in Venice, CA, at the Yuri Grigoriev School of Ballet. In 2010, she enrolled full-time at the School of American Ballet and became an apprentice with NYCB two years later. She was promoted to soloist last year. Catch her dancing during the company's spring season at Lincoln Center through June 3—and read on for The Dirt!


What's your favorite book?

I love "A Wrinkle in Time."

Who's your dance crush?

Craig Hall

What are your most-watched TV shows?

"Gilmore Girls" and "The Great British Baking Show"

What's something no one knows about you?

I sang in the movie Exorcist: The Beginning.

Who's your dance role model?

For the longest time my dance role model has been Sylvie Guillem. She is so technically perfect and has such amazing presence and emotion at the same time. She's also an activist now. I also love Marianela Núñez, and all the dancers at NYCB inspire me every day.

What's the most-played song on your playlist?

Kishi Bashi's "This Must Be The Place"

Where do you feel happiest?

In nature: by the sea, forests, or snowy mountains.

What are you most nervous about?

Forgetting steps in a ballet and also getting bitten by spiders.

Who can always make you laugh?

Unity Phelan can always make me laugh, along with so many other friends of mine.

What would you be if you weren't a dancer?

A nature and animal conservationist

Who would play you in a movie?

I would love Emma Watson to play me.

Have you had any embarrassing moments onstage?

I had a really embarrassing but funny fall in Mercurial Manoeuvres with Gonzalo Garcia. He was taking off for a pirouette and his arm karate-chopped me to the ground. It was so funny.

What's your best advice for young dancers?

To always be open to any advice or lessons anyone gives you, along with keeping your competitive tendencies towards yourself. Don't compare yourself with anyone else. We are all individual and that's special.

What are you most proud of?

I'm so proud of my fellow dancers for being such a wonderful family. We all live far from our families and it's special to feel like you have support where you live and work.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I would go to Brazil, Iceland, and the vast countryside of China.

Do you have any pre-performance rituals?

I always do my ab routine and have an Altoids.

What's the last thing you do before you go to bed?

I always have a cup of tea.

What did you want to be when you were a kid?

A dolphin rescuer

Do you have any hidden talents?

I love drawing and painting.

If you could work with any choreographer, who would you choose?

Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Pina Bausch, William Forsythe, Wayne McGregor, and Crystal Pite.

What's your dream role?

"Rubies," Aurora, Giselle, Theme and Variations, the Novice in The Cage, along with so many others.

What dancer would you drop everything to see?

Lauren Lovette, Unity Phelan, Marianela Núñez, Sylvie Guillem, and Joaquin De Luz.

If you were a superhero, what would your special power be?

To fly, and hold my breath forever for diving.


A version of this story appeared in the May/June 2018 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "The Dirt with Indiana Woodward."

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