May I introduce to you, our latest Dancer of the Month, Lucy Hamilton! Lucy is from Landenberg, Pennsylvania which is where she first started dancing with her mom. As she became more serious, she enrolled in a pre-professional program with First State Ballet Theatre in Wilmington, Delaware at age 10. When she was just 16, Lucy moved away from home to begin training with the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School. During this time, she was homeschooled so she had a greater flexibility with her training hours. In speaking of this time in her life, Lucy says, “It was at that school where I really started to feel like this was something I was capable of, they are the best.”
Her first contract was with Ballet San Antonio where she danced for two years, and then joined Texas Ballet Theatre’s studio company until the pandemic began. At this point she says, “That really threw a wrench into my career, like it did for everyone. I was just at home in PA with my parents, which in a lot of ways was great to be able to make up for time I had lost with them leaving home so early, but it also felt like the dance community was in freefall. I did what I could to try to dance in my house and started taking some college classes.” Over the summer of 2020 her and her parents moved to Florida so she could train with her school in Sarasota. She was able to continue dancing here until the world began to open up again, at which point she got her current job dancing with Syracuse City Ballet and teaching at Ballet and Dance of Upstate New York.
When asked why this current company sparked her interest she says:
“I knew the artistic director, Aldo Katton, from my time dancing with Ballet San Antonio. After the pandemic we were in touch and he told me they were looking for dancers for the 2021-2022 season. I sent my stuff and was lucky enough to receive a contract. I honestly was a little apprehensive at first because it’s a relatively new professional company. All I really knew was that I adored working with Aldo. He is one of the best coaches that I have ever been lucky enough to work with. He has a special ability to really see a dancer and to know that there is more than meets the eye. A lot of people will push you to be the best that you can be, but Aldo looks at you and says, no not good enough, I know you have more I know that you can do more, and he’s always right. That is ultimately what lead me to join the company, along with the fact that I had seen some of dancers were and how good they were and wanted to work with them. It seemed like, and turned out to be, the kind of place with a great environment to really grow. It’s the most rewarding process I could’ve asked for.
If you ask anyone who knows me they’ll tell you I am the biggest bun head, but since becoming a professional my outlook on ballet has shifted. I used to be almost afraid of other styles of dance and definitely didn’t feel comfortable in contemporary dance and I let that insecurity stop me from really going for it. As I’ve grown more confident in myself as an artist and what I uniquely have to say to the world with my dancing, it’s allowed me to have a lot more freedom in other styles of dance. Naturally that realization helped me in ballet as well.
I cross train with different exercises I’ve picked up along the way from other dancers and teachers, but I am always on the lookout for more ways to get stronger. Pilates and yoga are of course great, however I do wish there was more access to trainers who know what dancers specifically need. There seems to be a lot of conversation centered on cross training but not a lot of people who can help you find exactly what you need. Of course there is tons of content out there with various exercises etc. but it’s almost overwhelming, to me at least, and I wish it was more accessible and affordable to hire a professional to help you come up with a plan for your specific needs. They have that kind of thing in the major companies but not as much in the medium and smaller ones just because the budget doesn’t allow it.”
Her tips for other dancers and athletes are:
“Learn to love the work. When you love getting up and giving everything you can that day it’s one of the most fulfilling feelings. Learn to self-evaluate and try to anticipate a correction before your teacher can say it, that way you are focused and get the most out of what you are doing. That being said, don't be too hard on yourself if you can’t produce “your best” every day. You want your process to be long, and the harder you have to fight the more you will appreciate your achievements. The upward trajectory isn’t a straight line. I don’t know if this makes sense but in my head it does… If you steadily progress upward or maybe even zigzag a little bit I think you have more longevity, not just physically but mentally. Whereas if you just skyrocket up on a steep trajectory you’re more likely to come down faster, either from things like burn out or an injury. So get comfortable with the uncomfortable sensation of doing less or even nothing sometimes. It’ll make you hungrier to get back in the studio and maybe with a new perspective or idea.”
If you would like to support Lucy in Syracuse their performances will be in June, July, and August. Learn more on their website liked below: