Magazine article Dance Spirit

YOU SHOULD KNOW: Joy Womack

Magazine article Dance Spirit

YOU SHOULD KNOW: Joy Womack

Article excerpt

A LIVELY AMERICAN DANCER TRAINS AT THE PRESTIGIOUS BOLSHOI BALLET ACADEMY.

Spirited. Vivacious. Exciting. Joy Womack naturally has the trademark Bolshoi Ballet energy. But when she arrived at the company's academy in Moscow in 2009, her teachers went straight to work reining it in. "They considered me a Kit ri type of dancer, "Joy says. "As they put it, I needed to learn to 'dance like a ballerina instead of a soloist.' " Two years later, her focus and intense seven-day-aweek schedule has paid off. Joy now balances fiery attack with delicate articulation and expressive épaulement.

Joy, 17, began her pre-professional studies at the Balanchinebased Westside School of Dance in Santa Monica, CA. She switched to Vaganova style at 12, when her family moved to Texas and couldn't find a strong Balanchine studio in the area. Just three years later, her technique was so promising that when Joy auditioned for the Russian American Foundation's Bolshoi Ballet summer program in NYC, one of the teachers invited her to train year-round in Moscow. While international students are usually placed in the school's separate foreigners' program, at her teacher's request Joy became the first American offered a spot in the school's elite three-year course meant for Russian dancers only. [At the time, Joy knew very little of the Russian language. Now she's almost fluent!)

As one of only 10 girls in her level, Joy has found the competition intense. Like most of her classmates, she wakes up at 6 am to work out, which includes giving herself her own class so that she's on top of her game when school begins. …

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