America's Next FLX Model winner, Katrina Motley (@kkdancekk via Instagram), recently met up with us in NYC for a photo shoot. Did you know that this ballerina only began dancing at the age of 10? Get to know this well-traveled, future professional in this exclusive Q&A!
Q: What age did you start dancing?
I started dancing at the age of 10.
Q: Where are you dancing now?
I am dancing at the Lavrovsky ballet school in Moscow, Russia.
Q: What is your dream company?
My dream company is Staatsballett Berlin Ballet. I would really like to dance in Germany in the future!
Q: What was your favorite performance so far and why?
My favorite performance so far is Spring soloist from the ballet The Four Seasons. It was my first major role and it took a lot of rehearsals and hard work but in the end it all paid off!
Q: Favorite variation?
My favorite variation is Aurora Act III wedding variation.
Q: Dream role?
My dream role is Aurora from Sleeping Beauty! Sleeping Beauty is also my favorite ballet. I just love the music, choreography, and costumes. The role is really difficult but I am always up for a challenge!
Q: What are your hobbies when you aren't dancing?
I really enjoy reading and swimming.
Q: Favorite dessert?
I love ice cream! But I also really love to eat chocolate cake on special occasions.
Q: If you could partner with any celebrity, who would it be?
If I could partner with any ballet celebrity it would be David Hallberg!
Q: If you could travel anywhere where would it be?
I would love to go to Barcelona, Spain one day. It's so beautiful there, and I love the weather and beaches!
Q: How long have you been using the Flexistretcher?
I love the Flexistretcher! I have been using it for quite a while now- about every day to help me stretch before class. My favorite stretches are the arabesque and middle split.
We sat down with FLX Model Melanie Hamrick to get the inside scoop on her training, professional career, and personal faves. Read about this ABT ballerina and her life in the big city!
FLX: Where did you train?
MH: I began training with Sandra Ballestracci in Virginia and then at 12 years old, I went away to Kirov Academy in DC. I studied there for five years before joining American Ballet Theatre.
FLX: When did you start dancing professionally?
MH: I joined ABT at age 17. I was asked to join the ABT Studio Company while attending their summer program. I spent five months with the studio company and joined the main company (ABT) for their MET season the same year.
FLX: What’s your favorite role that you have danced with ABT?
MH: I really loved dancing Olympia in ‘Lady of the Camillias’. I loved the acting and taking time to develop my character.
FLX: What’s your favorite thing about performing?
MH: Being on stage. I love when I can go on stage and dance my heart out, while feeling exhilarated and exhausted at the same time.
FLX: What is your favorite costume for a performance?
MH: Lady of the Camillias or the Fairy tutus from Sleeping Beauty.
FLX: What is your post-show craving?
MH: Mexican food...I also just love a great hamburger and fries!
FLX: Where has been your favorite stage you have danced on?
MH: The Met in NYC!
FLX: How has the Flexistretcher helped you?
MH: It has really helped me increase my flexibility. I used it daily in school because my extensions were only at 90 degrees and today it is a constant in my dance bag!
J’aime Crandall graduated from the Kirov Academy in Washington D.C and joined the Universal Ballet in Seoul, Korea, in 2000 where she performed works by Petipa, Balanchine, Brian Yoo and Vinogradov. In 2003, Crandall joined the Dutch National Ballet. In 2008, J’aime Crandall joined the Royal Danish Ballet and in February 2011 she was promoted to soloist and in December 2011 promoted to Principal Dancer.
1. Where are you from?
I am originally from Arizona.
2. What was your favorite role to dance?
I loved my role in Études.
3. What is your favorite part of the dancing experience? Least favorite?
I love the process of dancing. You discover new things about dance and about yourself. I also love performing. There is something about the feeling one gets when you realize that all your hard work has paid off. My least favorite part of the experience is sore calves.
4. Who are some great choreographers that you have worked with?
I was lucky to have worked with both Jirí Kylián and Jorma Elo.
5. What is your pre-performance routine?
I take a nap, eat something, then, I go to the theatre. I do my hair and makeup and I do a barre. I stretch for a bit, and then I get dressed.
6. What is your favorite non-dance hobby?
I like going to the movies. I love getting massages after a long day, too.
7. What is in your dance bag?
Normal things like pointe shoes and extra clothing. And a flexistretcher, of course.
8. Where is your favorite place to travel?
Either Thailand or Brazil.
9. What has been your most embarrassing moment on stage?
It happened pretty recently, actually. I was dancing the role of Mercedes in Don Quixote, and I was supposed to enter from a specific corner of the stage. I had not rehearsed this specific part of on the stage, and I was not told which corner to enter from. The conductor was supposed to signal the orchestra to start the music when he saw me enter from the corner. Because I entered from a different corner, the conductor did not see me, and he never gave the signal for the music to start. I had to run to the other corner, and the conductor finally saw me and signaled for the orchestra to start. That moment got me a little flustered.
10. Do you have a favorite FLX exercise?
I love using the FLX Ball to do all of my foot and metatarsal exercises to increase arch flexibility and ankle strength!
11. What is some advice you can give young dancers who want to become professionals?
Work hard, but don’t forget to also have fun and enjoy what you’re doing!