Interview with Carol by Carlie Mckibben
- where were you born?
I was born in Providence, Rhode Island. I grew up in west Texas.
- when did you start dancing and what kind of classes did you take
I started ballet very young, age 3, as my mother was a dancer. I studied ballet (and character dance of course which is part of the package) exclusively until age 12.
- do you have any other siblings?
I have 7 brothers and 1 sister (the youngest). You can see why my mom wanted me to dance!
- what college did you attend?
I attended the University of Utah in Salt Lake City- still considered one of the finest dance educations in the country.
- did you dance in college?
7 days a week
- what professional ballet companies were you in and where?
I grew up in El Paso Texas where I studied with a great ballerina, Ingeborg Heuser. I danced with her company, Ballet El Paso, until I was 16. I danced for a professional theatre company- Pioneer Memorial Theatre, a professional modern company- Repertory Dance Theatre, and a professional ballet company-Ballet West before leaving University of Utah. Later, in Minneapolis, I danced with a contemporary company- Minnesota Dance Theatre, Ballet MN, a Romanian company- Isvorasul, and some stints with the MN Opera
- how old were you when you got done with college?
I left home at 16, graduated High School at 17, and college at 20- I was in a hurry tho I’m now not sure why J
- What major ballet performaces did you perform in?
Ballet El Paso did many of the ‘classics’ as well as some Operas. My first ballet, age 9, was Sleeping Beauty (I danced the Little Red Riding Hood variation). Others- Cinderella, Firebird, Carmen, Graduation Ball, Les Sylphides, Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, The Red Shoes, Pulcinella, Carmina Burana, and of course many, many Nutcrackers
- Was there any like obstacles to overcome in your career 🙂 anything that was hard to deal with?
Absolutely- there were physical obstacles (pain, injury, blisters, accidents), emotional obstacles (feelings of disappointment, dread, insecurity, poor self-esteem, inadequacy), and financial obstacles (poor pay, few jobs, lots of competition, holding down other jobs in order to continue to dance) And for a long time, I wasn’t sure of my direction in life- if there were few dance jobs, was it right to be training dancers? Then I realized the larger life lessons in a dance career- the discipline, willingness to work hard, the beauty, fitness, and health benefits- were the reasons I should embrace what was obviously my life’s work. I now see myself as part of the dance lineage that continues the art form of classical dance.
- when did you become a dance teacher? How old were you?
I was 23 when I took my first ‘real’ teaching job at North High School in Mpls- it was very challenging and rewarding…much like why I loved dancing.
- what did you study in college?
My degree is in ballet however I immediately discovered I loved modern dance far more and took as many classes as I could but also studied character dance, jazz, dance kinesiology, anatomy, dance injuries, teaching methods, etc. College enabled me to continue my dance studies with great teachers.
- What are some awesome opportunities you got in your life dance wise or any other things?
My life has been blessed in so many ways – I learned early about nutrition and caring for and avoiding injuries so have led a healthy, injury-free life. My mother gave me the gift of brains and my Dad the gift of kindness and compassion. I love teaching dance, and I loved raising my 3 kids. My greatest joy is that I have the time to keep myself educated in my field and I work really hard at that. I am grateful to all the amazing teachers that showed me the way, including my own children who taught me so much about teens- their sorrows and their joys.
- When did you move to Minnesota?
I moved to MN when I was 20.
- how many days a week did you dance and how many hours when you were younger in like a ballet company?
From the time I was 12, I danced 6 days a week (5:30 class and 7-10pm rehearsal) except during a show- then it might be 7 days a week. Who knows when I studied but I graduated both HS and college with excellent grades. I think I learned early how to be VERY efficient with my time!