[Interview] 8 Questions with Sleeping Beauty’s Grace Curry

On Saturday, gifted dancer Grace Curry will lead A&A Ballet’s magical presentation of “Sleeping Beauty”. The award-winning young performer is already a success in her mid-teens, and she plans to wow the evening audience in the Studebaker Theater with an enchanting performance.

BTSCelebs recently interviewed the rising talent and learned more about her. Take a look at that in-depth interview below.

BTSCelebs: Who is Grace Curry?

Grace: Grace Curry is a member of the Youth Company  at A&A Ballet in Chicago as well as a National Training Scholar for American Ballet Theatre (ABT) in New York City.  She won the Grand Prix at Youth America Grand Prix in 2017 and placed in the Top 12 at the New York Finals.  She has received numerous scholarships to train all over the world.

What sparked your interest in the performing arts?

I was very shy as a little girl, but I always loved dance.  It was the one way that I could express my feelings and emotions. I love expressing myself on the stage and sharing my love for this beautiful art form with others.  I completely forget about everything else when I dance.  It makes me so happy to see the audience enjoy my dancing.  I hope to inspire little girls in the audience to try a ballet class.

When did you officially start dancing?

My mom enrolled me in a mommy and me class when I was about 3, and I hated it.  When I was in kindergarten, I tried again and took creative dance, jazz,  and pre-ballet classes at a local studio.  I liked all my classes but absolutely fell in love with ballet.

Tell us about your journey to A&A Ballet.

When I was 10, I asked my mom to take me to a “better” ballet class.  She took me to the Joffrey. After my first Saturday class, I was asked to join the pre-professional division.  We couldn’t make the trip downtown everyday, but I kept dancing there on Saturdays.  I attended their summer intensive for the next 2 summers so I knew Anna and Alexei.  When I was 12, I attended ABT in NY for the summer and that’s when Anna and Alexei started A&A Ballet.  As soon as I heard that they were opening their own studio, I knew that I wanted to train with them.  I remember going in for a private lesson and at the end Anna gave me a hug and the rest is history.  I’ve been with them ever since.  I’ve grown so much as a dancer and artist with them.  They are the best teachers in Chicago.

How do you juggle school and dance?

It’s very hard to find the balance.  In order to train full time at A&A I had to give up the traditional schooling approach, and I take online classes.  It’s hard because I leave for ballet every morning at 7:30am and don’t get home until anywhere between 5:30-7:30pm.  I come home shower, eat dinner and then study until 10:30 or 11:00pm.  People think it was a sacrifice to give up high school but to me it was necessary to pursue my dream.  I don’t miss it because I am doing what I love.

How did you feel when you were chosen to be Aurora?

It was like a dream come true.  It truly is an honor to be given this role.  It’s such a challenging role from a technical stand point.  Most professionals say that Aurora is one of the hardest roles to dance and I agree with them.  You need so much stamina get through this ballet.  It’s a huge honor that they have entrusted me with this role.

What similarities and differences do you share with Aurora?

Well the biggest similarity is that Act I is Aurora’s 16th Birthday party, and I’m turning 16 this summer so I can relate to be on the verge on my sweet 16.  It’s a very exciting time, and I am able to bring my youthfulness to the ballet in this act.  It’s fun and light.  The main difference is that Aurora goes to sleep for 100 years and when she wakes up she’s being suited by many and has to make a choice for marriage.  I have to switch into a very mature dancing so that is challenging.  One minute I have to be young and playful and the next I have to be mature and regal.  I can’t even imagine having to get married so I have to use my dancing and acting to portray this part of the ballet.

What should we anticipate from you next season?

I am very fortunate that I am able to train at both A&A and ABT and am grateful to all my teachers for making it work.  I plan to keep working hard and improving every day.  I also am looking forward to many new performance opportunities next year.  I hope to grow in my technique and artistry as I continue to pursue my dream of becoming a professional ballerina. I hope to spread my love of this beautiful art form with others and inspire them to follow their dreams.

On May 4th, 2019, enjoy Grace Curry and Michael Sayre’s performances in “Sleeping Beauty” during the 7pm show at Chicago’s Studebaker Theatre (410 S. Michigan Ave). Dancer Trinity Santoro will take on the role of Princess Aurora during the 2pm performance.  

* BTSCelebs sends a special thanks to A&A Ballet  and Grace Curry for the exclusive interview and photos.*

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