Tell us a little bit about yourself :)
I'm Anissia Ferreira, I'm 27 years and I work as a ballerina and pilates instructor. I'm from Brazil and I have lived in Rio de Janeiro since I was two. My passion is dance, especially ballet. After a few years working as a dancer I discovered pilates and became an Instructor in 2015.
How did you get introduced to ballet?
I got introduced to ballet when I was eight. I was really curious about the point shoes and enjoyed the music a lot, the classes were the best part of the day.
When did ballet get “serious”?
When I was 15, I realized that I wanted to become a professional dancer and then my life changed. I went to Centro de Dança Rio, one of the most traditional schools in Rio, and spent many hours every day learning and practicing with really good professionals. I' m so grateful for this chance.
Can you share your biggest challenges ?
The first big challenge was to try to balance the College with dancing. I was 17 when I was accepted to college and graduated from Centro de Dança Rio at 19 I spent two years dancing and going to College. It was not easy, but totally possible.
The second is to come back to the stage as a professional dancer. I'm still fighting to achieve this one and I believe that it will happen soon, I'm working for it. ;)
How do you handle pressure?
Pressure is something that dancers need to handle every day. I was constantly pressured to be in shape, by other people and by myself, so I did many crazy diets, I lost weight and then recovered very fast, it happened many times. Nowadays I know how crazy and how bad it was for my health. There's nothing more important than yourself and you health.
Can you share your thoughts on self consciousness?
I try to rehearse a lot, especially the most difficult things and then I feel more safe. Sometimes I get a little bit nervous but I try to breathe, practice balance and review all coreography in my mind, it helps me to stay calm and relax.
What was your most embarrassing moment (in regards to your ballet of course ;)
I had a rehearsal with an important teacher in Brazil and during my variation I had to do sissones and relevés across the stage (dancers will understand). One of his corrections was "you have to jump higher" so I tried to improve my jumps and I did, but unfortunately in this moment, I did not realize that I needed to keep my legs opened in the air for longer, then when I showed my variation one more time, I finished the jump on the ground. It was very loud and so embarrassing!
How did ballet influence your life in other ways?
My passion for ballet changed all my life, changed my habits, my routine, teach me to be more persistent, more patient concerning my goals. At the same time the bad side is that I can't eat what I want everytime (I love candies!), but it's also good, it keeps me more healthy! ;)
What does your daily routine look like ?
I wake up at 6:15 everyday to eat my breakfast and get ready to go to work as a pilates instructor. After lunch, I usually go to the studio to take my ballet classes and rehearse. At night, I teach ballet to kids and adults, a few hours later I go to the gym to do some aerobic or practice pilates at home, before dinner and rest.
And what about your flexibility training ? Where does that fit in ?
First of all, you need to be patient and persistent, it's impossible to improve a lot in one day. Secondly, you have to organize a good schedule, you won't improve if you stretch once during a month. Third, you need to start with possible goals, it keeps you motivated if you achieve them "fast". And the last tip is to be careful when somebody else is helping you with stretching, they don't know your limit, only you. So, you need to always concentrate on your body.
What keeps you motivated?
I know sometimes is hard, but you NEED to be positive, especially in the bad moments. You are able to achieve every goal you want, you just should focus on it. Of course, always respecting YOURSELF and the people around you. NEVER let other person tell you what you are able to do, YOU are responsible for your life and your body, and always remember you CAN do whatever you want! Be in the control of your life!
For dancers I recommend two vlogs on Youtube: Project prima (by Joy Womack) and Kathryn Morgan.
What are your future plans/goals/dreams?
I'm planning to go back to College to study Physioterapy, I really want to help dancers to improve body resistance and recover yourself from injuries
Any tips for passionate people starting out ballet?
If you want to be a professional dancer, try to learn at the best place, with people that really know what is teaching, don't lose your time in another place! You need to focus everyday on your goal, take care of your body, your health, your art and of course your mind. Be strong!