Meet our May Ballerina of the month, New York City Ballet’s Lydia Wellington!
Lydia Wellington is a Corps de Ballet dancer with New York City Ballet! We had the opportunity to interview Lydia about her Dance background and here is what she had to say:
How did you first start dancing?
When I was 7, my “Movement” class teacher at school recommended that I audition for the School of American Ballet. I apparently had too much energy in class, or maybe she just saw how my feet pointed and thought I had a shot. I actually hated it for the first three years, but when I got held back at 10, I was surprised at how disappointed I was. That pushed me to work harder and concentrate more, which in turn triggered my love of dance.
What led you to NYCB?
I grew up in NYC, and both my grandma and mom had been coming to see NYCB for years – my grandma even in the days before Lincoln Center. My mom brought me to shows when I was really young and apparently I was on the edge of my seat during the piece, then dancing around in the fifth ring in intermissions (it was cheaper to bring me to the ballet than for her to hire a babysitter). SAB was our local dance studio, and when I kept moving up there, NYCB was the only natural place to aspire to.
Which ballet are you most excited to perform this season?
The first week of the spring season has some of my favorite ballets to dance and perform: Allegro Brillante, The Four Temperaments, Moves, The Concert. I’ve done them several times now, so they’re comfortable enough for me to push further and try out new things, even when I have to do three in one show. I love when I have all of the ballets on a triple bill because the show feels so fulfilling and immersive. I can’t say that there is one ballet I’m most excited for because that’s what I love most about dancing with NYCB – there are always a million pieces going at one time!
After a long day, how do you unwind?
It depends if we’re just rehearsing or in performance period. After a show I always come straight home to have dinner and either ice or put clay on my ankles (Redmond Clay is a natural way to get rid of swelling) while watching my favorite Netflix shows with my fiancé. If we’re rehearsing and I have evenings off, I try to go out to dinner or drinks with friends outside of NYCB because that’s almost the only time I have to catch up with them!
What is your favorite way to exercise out of ballet, and why?
I love swimming. I’ve been doing it for 10 years now and it’s become very therapeutic. People say that they get bored when they swim laps, but I just zone out and let my mind turn off. I don’t always do it for a cardio workout – it’s great when your calves and feet have been working hard because you just shake them out in the cold water.
What advice do you have for aspiring ballerinas?
Looking back on my own training, I think the most important thing was to be open to new things. My love of dance started when I got to try modern, flamenco, and African dance during a summer program. I learned to move differently and didn’t have the rigid constraints of ballet technique. These other styles are incredibly helpful when you join a ballet company and new choreography is thrown at you. Just because you’re in a ballet company doesn’t mean you will only wear pointe shoes.
See Lydia on stage with New York City Ballet during the Company’s 2017 spring season, which runs from April 18 to May 28. For more information, visit www.nycballet.com.