DANCE ‣ Dancer of the Month - July 2022, Sage Feldges
Updated: Aug 4
Another month means another new Dancer of the Month! This month we are proud to be featuring Sage Feldges of Ballet Arkansas as of the 2022-23 season!
A native of St.Louis, MO, Sage began her classical ballet training at Milwaukee Ballet School at the age of 16. While training she attended many summer intensives including Milwaukee Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Elements Ballet, and BalletMet. After graduating highschool she trained as a youth company member with A&A Ballet and as a trainee with BalletMet. During her time at BalletMet, she was chosen to perform corpse de ballet roles in company productions by Edwaard Liang such as The Nutcracker, Giselle, and Dorthy and the Prince of Oz. She also had the honor of performing works by George Balanchine including Concerto Barocco and Serenade (set by Nilas Martins and Wendy Whelan).
In 2018 she began her professional career with Ballet Quad Cities where she danced many principal roles such as Mina in Dracula, The Butterfly in The Nutcracker, Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty, and Carmen in Carmen Suite. In 2021 she joined Confluence Ballet Company where she danced the principal roles of Lead Princess in Firebird, The Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, and the Waltz Variation and Pas De Deux in Les Sylphides. She also performed featured roles in contemporary ballet works by Julia Erickson, Hannah Knorr, and Durante Verzola. When she is not dancing, Sage spends her time painting, cross training, and hiking.
Most recently Sage has just moved to Little Rock, Arkansas to join Ballet Arkansas as both a company dancer and a teacher. She is very excited to join a company with such a “clear artistic vision and strong community connection.” For Sage, these are the two primary reasons she chose Ballet Arkansas. “Community outreach is something I am really passionate about and love to be involved in! I wanted to find a company I felt I could grow in as an artist, and as well as a person. I truly felt like the directors took time to get to know me through the audition process and I got a strong sense that this company would propel me forward in the next steps of my career! I am so excited to begin my first season with the company! Outside of researching the company I also researched the area, and Little Rock is such a beautiful place to live! I am a nature lover and there is so much hiking and adventure that Arkansas has to offer that I can not wait to dive into!”
When speaking about her personal story of going from a young ballet student to a professional, Sage says discovering new ways of relearning your technique is vital to the profession. She speaks on the natural changes your body goes through from adolescence to adulthood and how those changes affect your body. As your body, and specifically muscles, change you must retrain it to do the same technique but maybe in a different way or with a different feeling. “Stopping to re-evaluate my approach to certain steps has been an exciting way to continue growing and stay motivated as a professional. Sometimes the way you have been doing a step for years starts to not serve you any longer and it is good to change it up! I also try to make time to be inspired by other styles of dance, art, and music, and reground myself in why I want to be a dancer and what it is I want to share with my audience so that I don't get lost in the stress or lose sight of why I chose this career.”
“For cross training I love to decompress after a long week of rehearsals by putting my headphones on and going to the gym to power lift. I find it has really helped me in my standing leg strength, as well as core for ballet. I also find I gain an immense amount of mental strength from it. I feel really accomplished and proud of myself after deadlifting my own body weight. For ballet conditioning I swear by floor barres. Floor barre has helped my turnout and rotation mobility strength so much! I encourage all my students to incorporate it in their ballet exercises!”
The interesting thing about Sage, is that ballet was not actually the first style of dance she started in. “I originally started tap dancing when I was young, so I love taking tap classes here and there. I also love taking a good contemporary class to really dance it out. There is a different type of expression to be found in each style of dance, and makes me fall in love with my job all over again!” Training in and learning other styles of dance is a great way to still move in a way that feels somewhat familiar while also challenging yourself with various musicalities, tempos, and aesthetics.
Sage’s tips for other dancers and athletes are:
There will be days you feel like quitting, and that's okay. But remind yourself why you started in the first place.
Practice like you've never won. Perform like you've never lost.
If you would like to support Sage, her next performance will be Dracula from Oct. 20-23! Check out the Ballet Arkansas website for tickets and more information about the company: https://www.balletarkansas.org/