eet Morgan Davis, 17, from the Houston Ballet Academy inHouston, Texas,
Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My mom put me in ballet classes when I was around 3, and I’ve loved dancing since. I grew up dancing in my hometown in Virginia, but once I was 14, I was really serious about making ballet my career. My family and I moved to Tampa, Florida to train with two incredible ballet masters Julio Montano and Gissell Durand for two years. Since I wanted to be part of a school connected to a professional company, my teachers recommended that Houston Ballet would be a great school to attend. I’ve only been at the Houston Ballet Academy for one year, but I have learned a tremendous amount of knowledge from the amazing staff, and have been in so many performance opportunities.
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?
Ballet hasn’t always been an easy passion for me to pursue. It is such a physically and mentally demanding art form but I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. The experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve met through dance has made even the hardest day worth every second.
What personal limitations if any did you go through in your young career?
I fortunately have not had any extremely bad injuries. I do have a condition called Osgood-Sclatter which causes pain in my knees, but it is manageable for the most part. Like almost dancers though, I struggle a lot with self-confidence and self-esteem. It’s a issue that I’ve been working on since I was around 11. It’s hard when you have to stare at yourself in the mirror everyday but it’s important to remember that the mirror is there to improve technique and artistry for ballet and not to judge your own body.
Has anybody ever tried to limit you on what you could do? If so how did you fight it?
I am so so lucky to have extremely supportive parents who will literally do anything for me to pursue my passion. They moved twice for me, took me to countless competitions, and have always been there for me when I need help or encouragement. I have amazing teachers and mentors who have not only made me a better dancer, but a better person along my journey. I’ve also met so many people and have made incredible friendships with people all across the world who share the same passion as me.
How do you conquer negative talk?
This is a hard question to answer, because I haven’t mastered it myself yet. For the most part, the only negative criticism I get is from myself. Pretty much every ballet dancer you ask will say they are a perfectionist, so I’m no different. I will be the first one to point out my flaws or say that I messed up, so I’m still working on being kind to myself. Since I struggle with a lot of negative self talk, I’m really trying to grow my relationship with God to help me understand my worth.
What is your favorite quote?
“Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion.” - Martha Graham. It’s a classic but it’s so true.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
My plans are to continue to train at the Houston Ballet Academy right now. It is an amazing school and I love training there. I would love to dance in Europe when I’m older, but my family and I are happy to be together during this time.