Victoria North received her training from the Maryland Youth Ballet. She was a member of North Carolina Dance Theater II for two seasons, of the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet for one season, and of Complexions Contemporary Ballet for two seasons. She also danced for and directed the Columbia Ballet Collaborative. Victoria graduated from Columbia University with a Neuroscience and Behavior major. She was a member of New Chamber Ballet for three seasons, where her repertory included parts in Pas De..., Allegretto Innocente, Chamber Dances, Composition in Dark Colors, Five Songs for Piano, Sculpture Garden, Sketches of a Woman Remembering, Ghost Story, and Spieglein. In the summer of 2012 she left the company to pursue Medical School at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Victoria North in conversation about dance and New Chamber Ballet. (December 2011)
When did you first start ballet?
I started ballet when I was 6 years old. My mother, who was a professional Modern dancer, originally put my older sister into ballet, and she ended up hating it! Because of that experience, my mom didn't want to force me into dance, but apparently I begged to go to classes. The thing I enjoyed most about ballet at first was the discipline and challenge of learning to do something completely new.
Tell us about your training...
Growing up I was lucky enough to train at a wonderful studio: Maryland Youth Ballet. Each of my teachers there had a slightly different classical background. I benefitted from learning different perspectives -- Cecchetti, Russian, Balanchine -- without being completely affected in a particular style. I was most inspired by Michelle Lees and Tensia Fonseca, both of whom helped give me the confidence to pursue dance professionally. Later, while I was a dancer at North Carolina Dance Theatre, my most influential teacher was Patricia McBride. We worked on my port de bras and musicality, and she helped me understand the neoclassical style that I didn't have much experience with. Finally, Nancy Bielski has been a continued source of inspiration to me since I have lived in New York City (going on 6 years!). Even when I don't feel like dancing, her class has the ability to remind me why I love ballet.
Where did you dance before coming to New York?
After high school I spent two seasons in North Carolina Dance Theatre's second company. The following summer and winter seasons I danced with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, before moving to New York to join Complexions Contemporary Ballet. I spent two years with Complexions before leaving to devote myself full time to school.
How did you join NCB?
While I was studying at Columbia University, I helped start a student-run ballet company called Columbia Ballet Collaborative. This company was an amazing outlet for me to keep ballet in my life while working towards my degree. It also allowed me to experience the behind-the-scenes of the dance world. Through CBC I began working closely with Emery LeCrone, and it was through her that I came to NCB. For the November 2009 show, Miro needed another dancer for his new piece "Pas de..." because there were a few injuries in the company. I immediately loved the close-knit atmosphere NCB offered and found I was inspired by all of the other dancers.
Other than the small size, what was unique about NCB?
The opportunity to perform to live music in an intimate setting is something I haven't experienced with any other company. I love working with Erik and Melody -- dancing to live music gives me a deeper appreciation for the connection between music and dance. I also have to thank Miro for that appreciation -- I have learned more about music from him than any other choreographer or director I have worked with before.
What do you love most about being a dancer?
I love the physical challenge of being a dancer. Contemporary choreography, in particular, pushes my body to move in ways I sometimes think it can't. More than anything, I love performing - it is not only the culmination of much hard work but also an opportunity to go farther emotionally into a piece and put something of myself into it.
Have you had favorite roles throughout your career?
I tend to love whatever piece I am working on at the moment, but I do have a few all-time favorites. One is Aurora's wedding pas de deux from Sleeping Beauty. I absolutely love the way Tchaikovsky's music transports me when I dance that role. Another favorite is Emery LeCrone's Aphorismos--one of the most exhilarating and physically demanding pieces I have ever danced.
What was the most memorable moment of your dance career?
The most memorable moment of my dance career so far was CBC's performance at the Miller Theatre in April of 2010. I had acted as the Artistic Director for CBC during the 2009-2010 school year; that performance was the culmination of many months' hard work planning and preparing the practical and artistic elements of the show. I also performed in two pieces on the program, so needless to say I was fully invested in it. I was thrilled with how everything came together and proud to be a part of such an inspiring group of dancers.
You have worked with NCB resident choreographer Emery LeCrone many times, at NCB and outside of it. Tell us about your collaborations...
I have worked with Emery many times both at CBC and NCB. To date I have been in seven of her ballets. She is an incredibly intelligent choreographer to work with. I love her movement style, musicality, and dramatic sensibility. Whether the piece is classical or contemporary, her movement always incorporates the entire body. Emery and I have been lucky enough to develop an understanding of each other that allows her to push me farther than I often think I can go. Ultimately I trust that she will help me dance my best!