Meet Charlotte Borden, 13, where she trains under the direction of Ms Deborah Hadley and Ms Amy Thompson in Bellevue, WA.
Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started dancing when I was 2 and joined a competition team when I was 6. I took almost every style of dance and really loved them all but ballet was always my favorite. When I was almost 10 I realized my goal was to try and become a professional ballerina so I left my competition studio for a pre-professional ballet program. Eventually I wound up at my current ballet program and I am so happy I did. I love everything about the program and I am so lucky to have found it.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Things have definitely not been easy for me. I have so many things that I need to work on with my technique. I also sometimes become frustrated that I can't do more revolutions in my turns or jump higher in my leaps. But I work hard and have really supportive teachers who remind me that as long as I keep up my training, all these things will come in time. I have to remind myself that right now I'm working on having really strong classical ballet technique and eventually I'll be able to do all the amazing turns and leaps I see professional ballerinas do. I try and remind myself that it's ok that I can't do them perfectly at 13. I just need more time and training.
What personal limitations if any did you go through in your young career?
Musicality has always been something I need to work on and I have also had trouble in the past with retaining verbal corrections. Over the past few years I've learned ways to help these weaknesses. One thing I do is that I write down all my corrections into a notebook after class or even right after the combination if I have time to do it then. Writing the corrections out really helps the corrections to stick in my memory. For musicality, I've found just working hard and having daily ballet classes has helped with this. The more practice I get at quickly learning new combinations and choreography, the better my musicality gets.
Has anybody ever tried to limit you on what you could do? If so how did you fight it?
Nobody has really tried to limit me. I've been really lucky to have very supportive teachers and a very supportive family. Without all of them, the path to a ballet career would be so much harder.
How do you conquer negative talk?
I try not to listen to negative talk at all. At my ballet program, my teachers really discourage negativity. They push us all and let us know what we need to work on but they do that by encouraging us, not by being negative.
What is your favorite quote?
"Dance is the hidden language of the soul" Martha Graham
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
A couple weeks ago I finished 5 weeks with Houston Ballet's summer intensive through Zoom. I had planned to go there in person but when they weren't able to hold their in person intensive I was really excited they had a virtual option. I loved the intensive so much and would love to be able to attend in person next summer. I'm hoping I'll be accepted again when they have auditions this winter. I will also probably be competing at YAGP this winter. I've competed at YAGP in the past and I had planned to take this year off from competitions but with Covid restrictions making regular performances almost impossible, my instructors said YAGP would be a good option this year because of the performance opportunity. Other than those things I plan to just keep working hard in my ballet training.