This weekend, PNB School Summer Course students will head back to their home studios to incorporate what they’ve learned; a lucky few will return to PNB this fall as Professional Division students. To celebrate the end of another wonderful Summer Course, we checked in with former Summer Course and PNB School Professional Division student Beila Ungar about her first year as a professional ballerina.
Fresh on the heels of PNB School’s 33rd Annual School Performance, where she was featured in George Balanchine’s Ballet Imperiale, Beila departed Seattle in July 2014 to join the Royal Danish Ballet (RDB) as a member of the corps de ballet. Located in Copenhagen, Denmark, RDB is the world’s third oldest ballet company, dating back to 1748. The company employs approximately 80 dancers, 2/3 of which are Danish.
Beila holds the distinction of being the first PNB Professional Division student offered a contract with RDB.
Selected to RDB’s exchange program last year, Beila spent 5 weeks in the fall of 2013 taking class with the Company and observing rehearsals and performances. Little did she know she was auditioning for the Company at the same time! A few months later when she was beginning the audition process, Beila contacted RDB and was subsequently offered a contract.
Beila’s path to becoming a ballerina began at the age of 7, when she first started dancing. Prior to being accepted into PNB’s Professional Division, she spent a year as a trainee at Ballet Met in Columbus, Ohio, and also attended Oregon Ballet Theatre’s summer program before participating in the summer program at PNB School.
When she left for Copenhagen, Beila said, “I hope to learn a lot. I want to go there and embrace it, work hard, take it all in, and see what happens.” After her first year, she has this to share:
“I learned so much from all of my experiences last season. At the end of the season we were performing Swan Lake at night and rehearsing Liam Scarlett’s Viscera during the day. The two pieces were so different, so to have to switch modes completely was an exciting challenge, especially because Viscera was different from any other piece I’ve performed. After several weeks of such a busy schedule I finally started thinking, ‘I can do this,’ which was amazing!”
She adds, “I feel really lucky to be at RDB because I’ve had the opportunity to meet people from so many different countries, training and backgrounds. It’s been really interesting to see how different people work and think in the ballet world and otherwise.”
Beila’s advice for aspiring ballerinas:
“Don’t give up in the face of adversity. Everyone has set backs and learning how to overcome them is what makes you a stronger person and dancer. If you know you have the desire and the talent to be a dancer, fight for it. Make the most of every experience and opportunity you have.”
We wish Beila all the best for another great season at RDB!