At a recent photo shoot Dance Life got to sit down with dancer Madison Oliver and ask her a couple questions. Along with sharing about her dance training, and future goals, she gave us some really great advice for summer intensives. Check it out!
What brought you to the Nevada Ballet Theatre?
My previous director’s daughter has been dancing with the Nevada Ballet Theatre for a number of years and so coming to see the company perform has been apart of my life for quite some time. Growing up visiting the company and getting to know the artists created a sense of home and family for me and in the end made the transition to Las Vegas from home feel much more natural and comfortable.
What was the most surprising thing about training with a professional company?
One of the most surprising things about training with this professional company has been the relationships that have been built between us all. Training and working together six days a week, for hours, forces you to be around the same group of people all of the time and in result of that we have all become tighter and much more like a family, than just another co-worker. We are a supportive and loving bunch and getting the opportunity to further my training and work with the company has been a lovely experience.
How do you balance your schoolwork with your ballet training?
Graduating in January was surreal and a great weight lifted from my shoulders. Finding the balance between schoolwork and training was rough and hard at times, but with discipline and drive it is absolutely possible. It did involve many a late night and making sacrifices, but after you are through with it all it is so worth it. My typical day was working in the studio 10-6, most days, and then home to study and do my schoolwork. It was not the most ideal of situations, but being able to live out my love for dance and continue in my education was a blessing and I would not have done it any other way.
What was it like working with Cirque du Soleil? Can you tell us about that experience? What role you had, if you learned any acrobatics or other circus skills, etc.
Working with Cirque du Soleil was a blast. Being able to watch the choreographers blend the two types of artists into one movement was exciting. Getting to see the Cirque artists move and work up close was fascinating and eye opening because they each have such different movement qualities and ways of using their instruments to create something so visually stunning.
Can you tell us about your most memorable Summer Intensive experience? What made it really stand out to you?
My most memorable summer intensive experience was the eight weeks I spent at Ballet West, in Salt Lake City, Utah. I made some amazing friends over the course of the intensive and because it was so long we were able to really bond and get to know one another. I enjoyed the training and teachers we had, as well as the reps and new choreography we were taught. It was just an all around solid program, that I would recommend, if even just attending the half session.
What advice do you have for dancers who are auditioning for summer intensives?
For those auditioning for summer intensives I would recommend going in with an open mind and your best efforts because you never know what they may be looking for. Do not be intimidated or afraid to stray from what is comfortable and do not be scared of or disappointed with rejection.
What advice do you have for dancers who will be attending their first summer intensives? For example – how to physically get through the days, things they should pack, how to handle new styles and teachers, etc.
I remember attending my first intensive in Houston when I was eleven and it was definitely scary, but I quickly made friends, began to settle in and feel more comfortable. Just be yourself, be friendly, and be excited to meet everyone you will spending the next few weeks with. For those who do not typically dance all day, all week, it will be something new, but hopefully enjoyable. Always have water with you and a nutritious snack to munch on between classes. Get your sleep at night because your body will need to recharge and rest after working hard in the studio. Tackling styles that are foreign to you can be exciting, but sometimes nerve-racking. Like auditions, go into your classes with an open mind. Just enjoy yourself and soak up as much as you can.
What goals do you have for the future of your dance career?
As I continue to dance I hope to further my knowledge on the art and further my training as an artist. I would love to become more diverse, jump into other styles of moving, and tackle roles that I have watched and dreamed of for years.