Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Maggie Oates-Johnson: A pink baby tutu and waiting to join

Many thanks to scholarship recipient Maggie Oates-Johnson for taking the time to share reflections on her passion and practice.

What does receiving a Talent Trust scholarship mean to you?

It means so much to me that people believe not only in my ballet skills and goals, but they believe in me and my ability to attain my dreams.

What are your earliest memories of your art?

My earliest memories of ballet is watching my older sister, Mollie, in her dance classes, while I was dancing in the hallway in my pink baby tutu, waiting to one day join in. 

Who were/are your biggest supporters?

My biggest supporters first of all are my parents and sister; without them, none of my dreams would be possible. Of course, my dance teachers are the ones who continually shape, influence, train, and guide me so that I can be the best version of me. My family and friends always root for me, accept me, and support me no matter what successes or failures I have. And I am especially thankful for NSTT who help me to achieve my goals through financial support for summer and year-round programming, along with the very important motivational piece of continually believing in me. 

What has been your biggest accomplishment to date?

This is a tough question for me to answer, because dancers by nature tend to be a bit perfectionistic and hard on themselves. I am grateful for all my scholarships, awards, dance opportunities, and ballet school acceptances, but I still see all that I still need to work on. So I think my biggest accomplishment is just in trying to stay grounded and true to myself while I’m trying to reach my goals...and still holding on to my love of dance through all the ups and downs with this art.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 year, in relation to your art?

I see myself having graduated from a professional ballet school and post-grad program, and hopefully being hired into a ballet company that does both classical and neoclassical work. 

How have you managed practicing your art during the pandemic?

When the pandemic first hit, I was initially sad and worried, as I’m sure most artists were, but I quickly discovered that I could adapt and learn in a different way. We bought Marley flooring and portable ballet barres for my basement so my sister and I could have a mini at-home studio. 

We were both able to continue our daily training through Zoom ballet classes, pre-recorded classes, and other virtual training opportunities from local dance studios and also through summer training programs in various professional ballet schools. 

I have been fortunate living in NS, because our studios re-opened in the Fall, allowing for in-person and social-distanced training. It is so nice to be back in studio and I am continuing to learn and grow, even though we have had some modifications. 

The hardest part is missing the live stage performances, but we are adapting to virtual performances, which are still fun and rewarding.

Thank you Maggie for your insights. 

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