My name is Pilar Gamboa, 9, and I currently live in EP, Texas. However, I started training via zoom with The Art of Classical Ballet in FL.


Photographer: @alesaldanaphoto

Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.

Ballet found me at the age of 3.5 when I was training to be an English Style Competitive Horse Rider. My riding coach recommended ballet for core strengthening to prepare me for jumps. I fell in love with ballet the minute I walked into the studio. I was 8 years old when I traveled 5 hrs to audition for a Joffrey Ballet School Summer Intensives. I walked into the audition without any expectations. Surprisingly enough, I ended up walking out of the audition with a full ballet summer intensive scholarship. This year I was nominated by 2 artistic directors and became the youngest Joffrey Ambassador for the 2021 summer tour.

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?

My journey is bitter-sweet. Things have been easy in the sense of my physical coordination and ability to learn choreography really fast at a young age. However, I have suffered from severe cyberbullying. My pictures were stolen from my profile and distorted. Derogatory remarks were made towards my height, weight, and race by teenagers from my community. This was not the 1st time that I experienced discrimination, but it was definitely the worst. However, these experiences have made me stronger and a more passionate dancer.

What personal limitations if any did you go through in your young career?

A personal limitation was my height. I wouldn’t get cast for roles because I was short, even though I could execute the variations.

Has anybody ever tried to limit you on what you could do? If so how did you fight it?

I have definitely run into teachers who have tried to limit my abilities. I fought for it by training harder every day with teachers who encouraged me. I also set aside time to dance on my own after I’m done with my group and private classes.

How do you conquer negative talk?

I read, paint, and do creative dancing. I play different styles of music and do improv according to my emotions until the negative talk is blocked out of my thoughts.

What is your favorite quote?

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world” ~ Paraphrase of Mahatma Gandhi

So, what’s next? Any big plans?

I’m looking forward to summer intensives at JBS NYC and JBS Vegas. My plans are to start training in person at ACB and attend YAGP next year. My dream is to be a professional dancer at ABT.

May 6, 2021

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