Cupcakes & Conversation with Ana Sophia Scheller, Soloist, New York City Ballet
What motivates you at 8am on a Monday morning ?
Well… not much, hahaha! I am still asleep at that time. I try to get as much sleep as I can. I don’t wake up till 9am for a 10:30am ballet class.
Why ballet ?
It’s hard to say exactly why, it’s just what I do. It’s me. I started when I was six years old. At nine my mom asked me if I wanted to do this professionally and I said YES!! I really loved it. I love the hard work and rehearsing. Even if I have already performed a ballet a million times there is always something new that I can learn.
What are you looking forward to dancing in the new season ?
Well, I am really excited to perform Cortège Hongrois this winter season. Also, I’m really happy to be learning (understudying) Odette and Odile in Swan Lake. I can’t wait to perform this ballet someday. It is one of my dream roles.
Who would you most like to dance with and what would you dance?
The full-length Romeo and Juliet by Kenneth MacMillan, with Joseph Phillips, a great ballet dancer with American Ballet Theatre.
If you could dance anywhere in the world (not only in a theatre), where would you dance?
I would love to perform in my country, Buenos Aires, Argentina at the Teatro Colon.
How do you prepare your pointe shoes?
First, I sew the elastics and ribbons, then I cut the satin on the tip of the shoes. Then I put jet glue inside the shoes on the tips only. Lastly, once the glue is dry I use my hands to bend the shank a little bit to break them in.
What is your daily routine at the moment?
As long as I can wake up on time! Hahaha ! Well, not every day is the same. The early part of the day is fairly routine. I wake up at 9am, take a shower and am ready to leave my apartment by 9:30 or 9:40am. I take the subway to the studio and have around 15 minutes to warm up before the 10:30am ballet class. The afternoon schedule is all about being flexible because it changes almost every day, according to the company’s rehearsals.
You can ask two famous people to dinner – who would you invite ?
Maya Plisetskaya and Maximova.
What would surprise people about you?
I love watching Spanish soap operas, and I love Sanford and Son (TV series).
Who inspired you to dance?
I saw a beautiful dancer performing at the Teatro Colon.
What is your best piece of advice?
Don’t take anything for granted and work hard.
How do you prepare in the hours before a show?
I start getting ready 2 or 3 hours before the show, depending on what I’m performing. I start with my make-up first and then I do my hair. I go to the studio and choose the pairs of shoes that feel and look the best on my feet. I always make sure that I have sewn at least three pairs or more, from which to choose. I stretch and do a warm up barre. Finally 15 minutes before the performance starts, I put on my costume and pointe shoes. Once I tie my ribbons, I sew them in. I do a few pirouettes on stage. Now I am ready to go!
Which role has tested you the most & how?
The Principal role of Ballo della Regina. I danced this ballet when I was 15 years old at the School of American Ballet workshop performance. Two years ago, two dancers got injured and the ballet company gave me two days notice to rehearse and perform this ballet. That was a great opportunity after six years to bring something new to the role.
If you were asked to design your own ballet costume, what would you create ?
A beautiful tutu that is very comfortable.
What do you look for in a dance partner?
A great partner is someone that works as hard as you do and you can trust.
What is your favorite quote?
“The essence of all art is to have pleasure in giving pleasure.” (Baryshnikov)
Do you have a ‘signature step’ – one that comes naturally to you?
Manege of coupe jeté.
A phrase I use far too often is … ?
What’s been your best on-stage moment so far?
Performing the Esmeralda Pas de deux with Joseph Phillips (ABT dancer), at the Miami International Ballet Festival.
Do you have a secret skill which no-one knows about?
Well…maybe but I can’t tell you that’s why is a secret.
In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be in a year from now?
I would like to be learning and dancing more things.