Dancer to Dancer

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

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

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."

The Conversation
Cover Story

When Hannahlei Cabanilla rolled up to her Dance Spirit cover shoot—just 36 hours after being named the "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 15 champion—she looked impossibly fresh-faced and well-rested. The Anaheim Hills, CA, native may have had "about eight blisters," as she joked, on her feet; she may barely have slept since the big win; and she may have just performed on "Live with Kelly and Ryan." But she jumped right on set, and quite literally didn't stop jumping for the next five hours. The fabulous technique, irresistible personality, and (especially) boundless energy that earned her the title of America's Favorite Dancer were all on full display.

So what was it actually like for Hannahlei to compete on the show she'd watched since she was a tiny dancer—and what's next for the now–19-year-old? Read on.

Keep reading... Show less

It's time to do your favorite happy dance because it's the most wonderful time of the year! The holidays are almost here, which means we can finally start dancing to Christmas music! With Just For Kix, you can easily dress the part for this holiday season.

Black Friday is starting early! Spend $100 and you will get a $50 gift card. What are you waiting for? Head over to www.justforkix.com and get the shopping started!

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Videos

Choreographing is hard enough on its own, but add a two-hour time limit and two dancers from completely different genres, and the task of creating a dance can seem almost impossible.However, street dancer K-Flow and ballerina Toi'ya prove such a task to be possible, even if it's challenging. In this mesmerizing video, the two find ways to adapt their style of dance to the other's, which results in a completely stunning duet.

Keep reading... Show less

This year, do not miss out on the world's most prestigious dance competition! Every dance competition offers a different experience. At Showstopper, they make it their top priority that your competition experience is unmatched. Here are just a few reasons why Showstopper is uniquely the best…

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Videos

It's one of those iconic only-in-NYC images: Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia making music with their feet in the middle of the legendary toy store FAO Schwarz. The uber-charming "giant piano" scene (choreographed by Pat Birch of Grease and the Martha Graham Dance Company) from the 1988 movie Big has since found its well-deserved place in many a supercut and pop-culture deep dive. But the Big piano has sadly been silent since FAO Schwarz suddenly closed its doors—seemingly for good—on July 15, 2015. Until today, that is!

Keep reading... Show less
Giveaways

It's contest time! You could win your choice of Apolla Shocks (up to 100 pairs) for your whole studio! Apolla Performance believes dancers are Artists AND Athletes—wearing Apolla Shocks helps you be both! Apolla Shocks are footwear for dancers infused with sports science technology while maintaining a dancer's traditions and lines. They provide support, protection, and traction that doesn't exist anywhere else for dancers, helping them dance longer and stronger. Apolla wants to get your ENTIRE studio protected and supported in Apolla Shocks! How? Follow these steps:

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
Photo by Erin Baiano

Most-used emoji: ❤️

Favorite place to shop: Lululemon

Her dance style in five words: "Hard-hitting, lots of tricks"

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
via Giphy.com

If there's one thing we learned from the musical episode of "Riverdale" last season, it's that more television shows should follow along and have at least one dance-tastic episode. Sure, sometimes these can flop, but most of the time they only make us love the show even more. Here are 8 series that we think need an episode filled with dancey goodness RIGHT NOW.

Keep reading... Show less
Just for Fun

Colder weather is (finally) here, which means it's time for a good dance movie binge. But which iconic films should you put on? To narrow your search, we went ahead and ranked 30 of the greatest dance movies of all time.

Of course, we know a list like this is bound to be controversial—so if you disagree with our lineup, have at it in the comments!

Keep reading... Show less
Cover Story

When Hannahlei Cabanilla rolled up to her Dance Spirit cover shoot—just 36 hours after being named the "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 15 champion—she looked impossibly fresh-faced and well-rested. The Anaheim Hills, CA, native may have had "about eight blisters," as she joked, on her feet; she may barely have slept since the big win; and she may have just performed on "Live with Kelly and Ryan." But she jumped right on set, and quite literally didn't stop jumping for the next five hours. The fabulous technique, irresistible personality, and (especially) boundless energy that earned her the title of America's Favorite Dancer were all on full display.

So what was it actually like for Hannahlei to compete on the show she'd watched since she was a tiny dancer—and what's next for the now–19-year-old? Read on.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Videos
Screenshot via YouTube

One Sergei Polunin is great but two, three, or four Polunins, that's something we can really get behind. And now we don't even have to go to an alternative universe to enjoy multiple Polunin clones. In Hozier's latest music video, "Movement" the legendary ballet dancer's drool-worthy technique is on full display as multiple versions of Polunin break out dancing. And though this isn't the first time the ballet superstar has teamed up with Hozier, this performance is even more haunting than the pair's 2013 collaboration in the "Take Me to Church" video.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Videos
Screenshot via YouTube

One Sergei Polunin is great but two, three, or four Polunins, that's something we can really get behind. And now we don't even have to go to an alternative universe to enjoy multiple Polunin clones. In Hozier's latest music video, "Movement" the legendary ballet dancer's drool-worthy technique is on full display as multiple versions of Polunin break out dancing. And though this isn't the first time the ballet superstar has teamed up with Hozier, this performance is even more haunting than the pair's 2013 collaboration in the "Take Me to Church" video.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Ellie Wagner (center) at Hall of Fame Dance Challenge's 2018 Nationals (photo by Hall of Fame, courtesy Wagner)

Each competition season comes with a range of emotions—emotions that tend to test even our strongest dance friendships. We spoke with comp-world veterans about how to deal with five common friendship-ruining competition scenarios, so you can keep the "forever" in "BFF."

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News
From left: (photo by Michael Curley, courtesy Cincinnati Ballet) (courtesy Cincinnati Zoo)

Yesterday Cincinnati Ballet announced an exciting addition to this year's Nutcracker cast: a character based on Fiona, the world's most famous hippopotamus.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer

For Zara Silverman dancing isn't just a hobby, it's a way of life. And now, Zara's enthusiasm for dance is trickling into her other interests. The 15-year-old's love of fashion spurred the creation of her own clothing line, which is designed specifically with dancers in mind. "Since I'm aspiring to become a professional dancer I wanted to design clothes that I would wear," Zara told Dance Spirit. She even uses other dancers as models for the the line.

Her official company, Zara Silver Clothing, just launched last month, and Zara admits she's still figuring things out. But she's excited to be merging her expertise in the dance world with her love of design. Find out why she attributes the hours she's spent in the studio to her success as a business owner and designer.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer

Traditional stages are nice and all, but in the ever-unpredictable dance world, it's not uncommon for dancers to find themselves performing in pretty unusual places. Here's how six professionals make it work anywhere—from the mast of a ship to a giant beehive.

Keep reading... Show less
Giveaways

We're giving away Jordan Matter's latest book, Born To Dance. It features young dancers just like you, who are passionate about dance. Enter below for your chance to win a copy!

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Video

mailbox

Get Dance Spirit in your inbox

Sponsored

Giveaways