Cupcakes & Conversation with Emily Grizzell, Soloist, Royal Winnipeg Ballet
How do you prepare your pointe shoes ?
Well, I wear Gaynor Minden pointe shoes now, and there isn’t a whole lot of prep required the way that there is with traditional shoes. I do admit to putting them through the washing machine on occasion in order to get a few more wears in. (The downside to long lasting pointe shoes is the aroma.)
What is your daily routine at the moment ?
We just began our summer layoff period, so I am relaxing with my husband and daughter. I will do ballet class, yoga, and work with a personal trainer in order to stay in shape. Since having my daughter Lucie, a year and a half ago, I have to work a lot harder at keeping fit than I used to. The upside is that I am enjoying all aspects of my life more than ever. She really has helped me to focus my energy and be in the moment.
What do you eat during the course of a typical working day ?
My mom has a great recipe for homemade granola that I’m pretty addicted to. I tweak it a little every time I make it. Usually I will snack on a piece of fruit sometime in the early afternoon before lunch to keep my blood sugar up. In the interest of saving time in the morning, I try to make enough for dinner the night before so that we have leftovers for lunch the next day. We really have our routine streamlined at home so we can maximize family time.
You can ask six famous people to dinner – who would you invite ?
Oh wow. Real or imaginary? Living or dead? Agnes deMille, Bjork, Frank Lloyd Wright, Katherine Hepburn, Willy Wonka and Marcel Dzama. I’m not sure what I would serve, but the conversation would be amazing.
What would surprise people about you ?
I am an absolute cheese fanatic. Last summer I attended a three day cheese master class in New York at Artisinal which was taught by Max Mcallman.
Who inspired you to dance ?
I’m not sure that any one person inspired me to dance. I’m thankful that my family encouraged my creativity and imagination because that helped me to find an outlet for that in ballet.
What is your best piece of advice ?
This was courtesy of my mother. She told me not to waste so much time tearing myself apart because there are plenty of other people to do that for me. Whenever I find myself sinking into self-criticism I try to remind myself of that, but it’s a hard lesson to learn.
How do you prepare in the hours before a show ?
I like to have a little quiet time to myself before I start my hair and make-up. I will start from a really low key place just to channel my energy. If I need a boost when it gets close to curtain, I will put on a really upbeat song and have my own little dance party before I put my costume on. It helps me connect with that feeling of joy relating to movement and dissipates any nerves if I have them.
Which role has tested you the most & how ?
No surprises here, the role of Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty. I have never really considered myself a classical dancer, as much as I admire it in others, I always feel like I am going from pose to pose onstage instead of really dancing. Throw in the title of Princess on top of that, along with all of the other trials and tribulations that go along with that role; I still get the chills thinking about it. However, I had a great coach, who helped me to find a real person inside of that princess. I came away from the process feeling like I had climbed my own Mount Everest.
If you were asked to design your own ballet costume, what would you create ?
Something that would let me feel the air moving across my skin when I danced.
What do you look for in a dance partner ?
What is your favourite quote ?
I’ve never been one for quotes.
Do you have a ‘signature step’ – one that comes naturally to you ?
People say I have nice fouettes. I haven’t ever seen them myself, so I’m not really sure what the means. Other than that, I am happiest and most confident when I am jumping.
If you could dance in front of anyone, who would it be and what makes them special to you?
I wish that I could dance for my Grandfather Ray and my Uncle Sam. They both passed away before they saw me dance professionally.