BWW Interviews: Amy Fote talks her Ballet Career, Houston Ballet, What's Next & Offers Advice
Me: Thinking back on your career with ballet. What has probably been the best moment for you?
Amy: Oh my goodness. Wow! You’re the first person to have asked me that! [Laughs] Gosh. [Pauses] That is really, really tricky. I mean, there are lots of things. A lot of special shows I remember and some performances that really stand out. And I even loved some of the times in the studio, where you feel like, you know, “today I have really done my job well.” Gosh. I think something that I really loved was performing MADAME BUTTERFLY. I don’t know, I think maybe it was just being a guest over with Royal New Zealand Ballet. Just that whole experience was definitely a highlight in my career. Not to dismiss, you know...[Pauses] I remember being promoted here, on stage. That was an amazing moment! And there are some ballets too that I have danced here, you know, they felt extra special that night. I’m really having a hard time saying what the moment was. Sorry, I’m not answering your question. [Laughs]
Me: You know, it’s okay to have more than one moment.
Amy: Yeah. Gosh. And I guess as well, going back, for some reason, you know, sometimes you want to bottle a feeling. That one for me would be after having done my run-through of ONEGIN, when I first joined the company, and hearing my fellow dancers be so appreciative of my work with their applause and with the things that they had said to me. It just really felt like a wonderful moment, and that was something in the studio shared with an intimate group. And sometimes that’s when it is most difficult to perform for people who know what you do so well. To perform for an audience, they know whether they like things or not. There’s a dancer’s dancer and there’s an audience’s dancer. And it’s very different, and you want to be able to go to both. You want your technique to be just right and then you want to be able to reach past and have your emotion and feeling be something that is felt as well. So, it is much more complex. As is now changing jobs. You know, like, once you retire from dance, it’s not just like changing jobs in the real world. It is very complex. So, I’m wondering how the transition will be. [Laughs]
Me: I can understand how that would be daunting and kind of scary.
Amy: Yeah. It’s both. It’s exciting. It’s also scary. There are a lot of unknowns, and there is something thrilling about that. I chose to retire, and it felt right. You know, I feel like I have given what I can to this art form. I really do feel fulfilled. Of course, there are times that I feel, “Oh, I’d really love to do this ballet again,” but it feels like it is time to move on. It was a tough choice to make. It really was because I still love, love, love what I do. I don’t know. Something about it settles.
Me: You probably get asked this question all the time, but what advice do you offer to young artists trying to break into the industry?
Amy: Okay. This is probably a favorite question because it is something that I discovered about my self not that long ago. And it goes like this: You cannot be anything you want to be, but you can be a whole lot more of who you are meant to be.
Now, for me, that means some people, of course, in this profession they’re going to have legs higher, they’re going to jump higher, they’re going to turn more, and if I am always striving to be that, I do push myself and continue to want to improve on all of those things, but when you find what your forte is, and what your special gift is—what your talent is—and if you can let that shine and really speak, that is going to set you apart. That is going to be what becomes part of your identity. You don’t need to compare yourself to others. Now, that happens. But everyone has a different gift. It would be so boring if we all had the same thing. So embrace what make you unique. And you just really need to push yourself every single day and sometimes, often through that, because it is so difficult, that is when the rewards become really great. When you believe in yourself, you’ll stand a little differently.
If you missed your chance to bid Amy Fote a fond farewell at November 30th’s JUBILEE OF DANCE, you can see her play the Sugar Plum Fairy one last time on December 29, 2012. For tickets and more information abut this performance lease visit http://houstonballet.org/ or call (713) 227 – 2787.
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