DANCE ‣ Dancer of the Month - October 2022, Marie Ritschard
Updated: Apr 1
As the end of the month is here, and all things spooky are hitting their peak, here at HVU we’d like to introduce to you a new Dancer of the Month, Marie Ritschard of Central Illinois Ballet!
Marie Ritschard, born in Wiesbaden, Germany, grew up in eleven countries and states as she traveled with her Air Force family. She began her training in England and continued at Montgomery Ballet, Misawa Unique Ballet, Pasadena Dance Theatre, and Dayton Ballet among others. She moved to Indiana to study Dance Pedagogy and Pre-Physical Therapy at Butler University. After graduating, she danced with the Louisville Ballet Studio Company, where she had the opportunity to perform some of her all time favorite roles in Val Caniparoli’s Nutcracker, Balanchine’s Serenade, and Ronald Hynd’s Merry Widow. Since joining Central Illinois Ballet (CIB) two years ago, Marie’s favorite roles have included Dew Drop in The Nutcracker, Ariella in The Little Mermaid, and Audrey Hepburn in Women of History. Marie is also the Box Office Manager at two area performing arts venues and teaches ballet and pointe at a local studio.
As this is her third season with CIB, Marie now reflects on her time with this company and why she chose to join them in the first. “CIB’s welcoming atmosphere, family environment, and strong focus on the health of their dancers drew me to join. It’s a small, close community and we get so many varied performance opportunities!” There is something so special about finding your community when moving to a new city and joining a new company is the same.
Like many of the dancers we have spoken to, Marie enjoys cross training in order to stay in peak shape. She often does hot yoga, pilates, and cardio sessions at the gym a few days a week. Beyond just cross training, Marie also prioritizes her personal interests to keep a good work-life balance. “Since becoming a professional, I’ve learned the importance of balance between my dance career and life outside the studio. I’ve prioritized other activities that I enjoy, like skiing and hiking and spending more time with family and friends.” Working in a field you are passionate about can sometimes lead to a blurred line between work and pleasure, so finding other side interests is important to avoid the feeling of burnout.
“As a student, I felt a lot of pressure to focus all of my time and energy on dance, which often resulted in overworking, burnout, and missing out on so many other things that I saw “normal” people doing. While the burnout definitely can still happen during busy seasons, intentionally investing in other things that I enjoy has allowed me to find more joy and appreciation for what I do in the studio.”
Going off of this Marie’s advice to other dancers and athletes is to focus on balance. “Do other things that you enjoy and make friends and connections outside the dance world! It has helped me appreciate what I do in the studio so much more.”
If you would like to support Marie by helping CIB, we have linked their website below. CIB will also be performing Nutcracker during the first weekend of December, and even hosting a Tea with the Sugar Plum Fairy!