My name is Mia Sherman and I am 16 years old. I live in New York and I dance at American Ballet Theatre.
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 3 years old. I studied at a small ballet school near my house until the age of 9, when I auditioned for Houston Ballet. I stayed at HBA until I was 14, and just before I turned 15, I joined The Dallas Conservatory’s Classical Training Program. I stayed in Dallas for one year, and then I moved to New York and joined the ABT JKO school.
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?
I would say that being a ballet dancer is not only taxing on you physically but also mentally. I think for me personally, it has been hard in the past 3-ish years because you start to experience times of not liking your body or feelings of needing to be perfect. I’ve worked very hard to get to where I am, and I’ve definitely had times when I wondered if it would be worth it, but I’m really grateful to be where I am now.
What personal limitations if any did you go through in your young career?
I wouldn’t say I had any major limitations when I was younger. Being in the ballet industry, there are always going to be people that are hard on you or may not like you, but I think being able to remove yourself from toxic situations is the best thing you can do for yourself.
Has anybody ever tried to limit you on what you could do? If so how did you fight it?
I think there have been times when I’ve felt like I could’ve done a role, for example, but I’m not put in it. But I think the best thing you can do is just trust your directors or teachers. They usually have a vision for the piece, and you may not fit it for that specific occasion, but that doesn’t define you and your capabilities.
How do you conquer negative talk?
I am a very sensitive person. I tend to get emotional when I receive negative feedback, but I think that is just something I’ve worked on since I’ve gotten older. I try to not let it get to me too much, because I know my worth, and I know that one bad day shouldn’t ruin your whole mood. I think also having someone to talk to is very important, whether that be a friend, a family member, or whoever. It’s just good to have someone you can trust and spill your thoughts with after you’ve had a rough day.
What is your favorite quote?
“Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m possible!’” - Audrey Hepburn
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I’m honestly not too sure where I’m going to be in next year or the next few. I would hope to join a company within the next 2 years or so, but I’m not really sure what’s to come. I just like to live day by day and see where life takes me!