My name is Roby Mendoza, 11, from Monterrey, Mexico. My studio is Maries dance studio and I’m privately coached by Principal dancer Olivia Quintana.
Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today?
I started “attending” ballet class when I was in my mom’s belly, she taught ballet every day. I started ballet class at 3 years old. Then switched to other dance styles until I realized my talent and skills were improving a lot with ballet class. Then I got serious about ballet technique. I have been working very hard this past year, and I’m very focused now.
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?
No. I used to be a part of a dance school and competition team that didn’t motivate me. I was feeling undervalued and lacked self-confidence. When I switched to my current school I realized that the dance environment should be encouraging, everyone can shine!
What personal limitations if any did you go through in your young career?
I am a perfectionist. That can be good, and it can be difficult. I’m hard on myself. I sometimes get frustrated with my feet and knee lines.
Has anybody ever tried to limit you on what you could do? If so how did you fight it?
Yes. My former school was definitely a challenge emotionally. I fought it by working hard on my art and training, and then I decided to leave. If you’re not happy where you are, don’t be afraid to leave!
How do you conquer negative talk?
I praise people’s skills. And I constantly remind myself progress is progress and I look back to see how much I’ve grown. I literally go and see pictures of me from a few years ago.
What is your favorite quote?
"Look in the mirror, that’s your competition" - Author Unknown
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Yes! An international ballet competition. A dance convention (contemporary but still fun). My ballet exam. And a very much awaited summer intensive at a dream ballet school.