Tell us a little bit about yourself :)
I live in Long Valley, NJ. I started dancing when I was 2 years old at the Art of Dance in Chester, NJ. I grew up doing dance competitions and conventions. I enjoyed this, and won many awards. When I was 11 years old, I was cast as Clara for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular in Nashville, TN in 2010.
Around that time, I started focusing more on my ballet training and began dancing full time at North Jersey School of Dance Arts in Hackettstown, NJ. In the summer of 2014, I attended World Ballet Competition in Orlando, FL, and made it to the final round which was exciting for me because there were so many amazing dancers! Later that year, I was asked to perform as the Sugar Plum Fairy/Adult Clara in NJCYB's Nutcracker. This was challenging, but so much fun! I also performed as the Sugar Plum Fairy/Adult Clara in 2015 and 2016.
How did you get introduced to ballet ?
My mom thought that I would look cute in a little pink tutu performing in a dance recital, so she decided to put me into dance. She had no idea what she was getting herself into! I love the gracefulness of dance (particularly ballet) and especially love performing!
When did ballet get “serious” ?
I have always loved dance. There was never really a moment where it changed into a serious obsession because it always has been! I love the discipline it has taught me about working hard.
Biggest challenges :
There have been many auditions/performances that have not gone well, and I have not always gotten the parts in performances that I had hoped for. But these are good humbling moments that help me remember, that everything is not always going to go perfectly. No matter what happens, God is in control. His plans, are far better then mine.
How do you handle pressure ?
Since I am hoping to become a professional ballet dancer, I have to keep the right body form all year long. Sometimes it gets hard, and frustrating, but if I keep pushing, the results are so worth it.
Can you share your thoughts on self consciousness ?
Even if you are feeling nervous, if you decide to look confident, it helps you to feel more confident in yourself. I still get nervous to perform, but nerves can be helpful if you handle them the right way. When I am nervous, it usually helps me to do better, and the adrenaline is a good energy booster.
What was your most embarrassing moment (in regards to ballet of course ;)
When I was 11 years old at Nuvo Dance Convention, I was doing the scholarship audition class. I was front and center and started the combination off great. All of a sudden, my mind went blank and I forgot what came next.
Unfortunately, there were no demonstrators doing the combination in front of us. I was so embarrassed! I was not even chosen as a finalist, and did not receive a scholarship. I was really upset with myself and it was hard to finish classes that day.
How did ballet influence your life in other ways ?
Dance has definitely helped my self confidence. It has helped me most with being disciplined to work hard, eat healthy, and act respectively.
What does your daily routine look like ?
In the morning, I do school (I'm homeschooled). After lunch, I do my personal ballet workout/cross training. Then I go to my dance studio for ballet classes, contemporary and tap. I am usually there from 4 - 8:30 p.m.
And what about your flexibility training ? Where does that fit in ?
I work with a rhythmic gymnastics instructor on strength and flexibility. I also have various stretch bands, yoga blocks for oversplits, etc.
What keep you motivated?
Watching some of my favorite dancers is always inspiring to me: Gillian Murphy, Catherine Hurlin, Giselle Bethea (I love ABT!), and Tate McRae for contemporary.
What are your future plans/goals/dreams?
I would love to be a professional ballet dancer!
Any tips for passionate people starting out ballet ?
I think good ballet training is the key in dance! Cross training is also very helpful! I wish I had started earlier with my strength and flexibility work.
I come from a big family where I have 5 sisters that dance and 2 brothers that don't! It's fun and a little crazy to have all of the girls pursuing the same thing! We talk about dance a lot, much to the dismay of the boys.
Anything you’d like to share?
Our family has a YouTube channel, Quiner Family, where we post a lot of our dance videos. And my Instagram is @michellequiner. Thanks!