Dance Life got the opportunity to sit down and chat with Christine Shevchenko of the American Ballet Theatre recently and ask her about her past summer dance experiences, and tips to younger dancers who are following in her foot steps. Here’s what she had to say:
DL: Where are you from and where did you grow up?
CS: I was born in Odessa, Ukraine and my family moved to the United States when I was seven. In Ukraine I was originally studying rhythmic gymnastics, but once we moved here it was hard to find a good quality training facility. That’s when I decided to switch to ballet.
DL: What was your most memorable summer intensive?
CS: Well I was going to the Rock School during the year, so I would just stay there for their summer program. It was nice because the teachers all knew me already, and knew the different things I was working on. And I didn’t have to audition to get in the program – just do a placement audition.
Something a little different that I would do during summer is compete. In 2005 I won gold at the Moscow Ballet competition, and in 2006 I won the bronze medal at the USA Ballet Competition.
DL: That’s so awesome! Do the judges give you feedback after you perform?
CS: It’s kind of funny because if you win, you don’t see the judge’s comments.
DL: What’s the audition process like to qualify to compete?
CS: First you send a video of you dancing a variation and a contemporary piece. It takes about two weeks, and there are three rounds to get through.
DL: What advice do you give dancers who feel like they want to compete?
CS: I would say make sure you are really ready, and don’t rush it. The competition will always be there next year. It won’t be a good experience for you if you’re not really ready for it.
DL: What audition advice do you give to dancers who might be auditioning for a summer intensive?
CS: Act really confident. Even if you mess up a little, just pretend it was meant to be. The panel watching you can easily tell if you have good technique, but they are looking for more than that. Confidence is key!