Our Holiday Cover Girl reflects on the season, finding strength in family and the life of a traveling ballet professional.
Just returning from touring London with the San Francisco Ballet, corps de ballet member Kimberly Braylock took time from her busy schedule to allow us to get to know her a little better. Prompt, polite and sweet- traits she credits to her “mother raising her right”- Miss Braylock won us over with her down to earth positive attitude, signing all her correspondence with a friendly, “Kim.”
DDS: What is it like touring in London so soon after all the commotion of the Olympics?
Kim: Touring to London was a bit of a scare due to the Olympics. One of our ballet masters even made a reference to the Olympics before our travels in order to raise the bar. However during our stay there the Olympics weren’t mentioned besides the printed advertisements.
DDS: Did you like traveling?
Kim: Yes!!!! I love traveling. 10 hour flight? Bring it on; it is so worth it.
DDS: What is the one thing in your dance bag you can’t live without?
Kim: Besides the obvious, my Pointe shoes 🙂 I would say… Water bottle.
DDS: What is the most interesting place you have visited with the company?
Kim: China is the most interesting place because I would have never thought to travel there on my own personal interest. Shanghai is the best for shopping and Beijing had amazing authentic Chinese food restaurants.
DDS: If you could choose anywhere in the world, where would you like to go on tour?
Kim: Besides New York City because my family is from there, I would say Greece.
DDS: New York City boasts an abundance of ballet schools and two prominent professional companies. Why the move west?
Kim: My move to the west was due to my acceptance into the San Francisco Ballet School on scholarship. I was previously informed by one of my former ballet school directors and friend that it was a difficult to be accepted by the SFB school ballet. Secondly, I had seen the company perform the summer before during their tour to New York City in 2006. Prior to accepting SFB’s summer intensive I was sadly declined by the two prominent professional ballet schools: SAB [The School of American Ballet] and JKO [The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre].
DDS: What advice would you have for young dancers aspiring to have a professional ballet career?
Kim: I would say, never give up! Remember why and who you are dancing for, and the only person stopping you is you.
DDS: We admire that you follow your own advice; clearly it has paid off in your career. What is the best advice you have ever received?
Kim: The best advice I have ever received was from my dad who told me, “remember the glory is not for yourself but for God.”
DDS: You seem very close to your family; how do you balance friend and family obligations with the holiday performance schedule?
Kim: With my family on the East Coast, I just make phone calls easily. However my family in the Bay Area is really supportive and will come hang out with me even during my one hour lunch break or after a matinee show. They become my reminder of life outside the ballet. It’s difficult to have these obligations, yet without my friends and family I would not have any relief from my constant ballet obligations so making time for coffee or dinner with a friend is key.
DDS: During this season one thing is on every ballet dancer’s mind: The Nutcracker. How many times have you performed in the Nutcracker? How do you keep it fresh?
Kim: I cannot count how many performances but I have done five seasons of it with SFB. I keep it fresh when I remember the little girls who are watching or if I know certain friends of mine are watching.
DDS: How do you handle the grueling rehearsal and performance schedule?
Kim: I try to be very responsible in getting my sleep, right nutrition, and adhering to my body’s needs.
DDS: Any tips for young ballet dancers out there on how to stay stress free during the holiday season?
Kim: Be optimistic! Focus on all the wonderful blessings and what you are grateful for. You would rather be in the position you are now than…? Use your imagination, after all we are artists.
For more interview questions with Kimberly Braylock, check out our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/discountdance!