Today we are featuring our 2021 alumna Amanda Arnaud, professional dancer with the Russian Ballet Orlando.
Amanda grew up in Switzerland where she received her early dance training. She successfully completed all the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) vocational exams and received numerous prizes including the 1st place at the Swiss Championships in modern dance in 2009 & 2010. She later attended and graduated from the Gelsey Kirkland Academy in NYC, and afterwards danced with the US International Ballet Company in Wilmington, NC. She joined NYDP for the 2020/21 season while studying at Steps on Broadway. We had the pleasure to follow up with Amanda and learn about her transition into the professional ballet world, her experience with NYDP, and her journey with RBO.
- In 2020 you joined NYDP, what made you choose this company?
During the Lockdown in 2020 I was attending the Steps International program and in addition to that was looking for an opportunity to train, rehearse, and perform with a company in the same city. I heard about NYDP online and on social media, and talked to former dancers from the company who enjoyed it a lot. I was attracted by their various performance repertoire, their curriculum, and their mentorship offers.
- How was your experience with NYDP and what did you enjoy most about the company?
My experience with NYDP was fantastic, and I’m convinced it was the best fit for me at the time. Despite the pandemic we were able to train, rehearse, and perform in person every day. Although we worked with some restrictions, we had an overall great and successful season with a lot of performances and opportunities to learn and grow as artists.
- Would you like to share your favorite performance or memory with NYDP?
I very much enjoyed our tours and performances in Hudson Falls. I absolutely loved performing at the Herald Square in NYC and thus bringing back live performances to NYC during the pandemic. I had never performed in an open public space before, and it was very emotional seeing the audience so touched by our performance. Performing the classics Swan Lake and Raymonda was my favorite, but I very much enjoyed learning and performing Arpino’s Birthday Variations and ‘to be human’, a new piece by choreographer Danielle Diniz.
- How did NYDP impact your career, and how did NYDP help you transition into a professional company?
During my season with NYDP I improved tremendously as a dancer technically and artistically. I have learned to pick up choreography quickly and to adapt to various dance styles and to understudy and to be able to step into an empty spot. Those essential skills helped me a lot as I joined Russian Ballet Orlando. Furthermore, I received a lot of guidance regarding audition preparation. The artistic staff reviewed my audition materials and gave me good advice and assistance on finding a company that would suit me.
- In 2021 you joined the Russian Ballet Orlando as a company artist. Would you like to share some of your favorite ballets/roles you have performed so far?
With RBO I performed around ten different classical full-length ballets. My favorite ones were ‘Esmeralda’, ‘Swan Lake’ and ‘Carmen’. I got to perform a lot of lead & Solist roles. My favorite ones were Aurora in ‘Sleeping Beauty’, Diana & Acteon in ‘Esmeralda’, Cupid in ‘Don Quixote’ and Death in ‘Carmen’. I also very much enjoyed performing the 3rd Shade in ‘La Bayadere’ and the Snow queen in ‘The Nutcracker’. Last Spring, I performed the ‘Flames of Paris’ pas de deux which was always a dream of mine because it is powerful and extremely challenging.
- What advice would you give to aspiring dancers who are aiming to get into a professional company, and why would you recommend NYDP as a great transition company?
Go for it! If it is your dream, it is up to you to put in the work. Try to get as many classes as you can, perform as much as you can, write down every correction you get, and work on them every day. Try to build a wide network because connections might be the key to your next contract. Most importantly, believe in yourself! I would definitely recommend NYDP because of their world class artistic team and the countless opportunities the program offers.
- Is there anything else you would like to share?
I would like to thank the artistic direction for everything they did for me during my time with NYDP, for helping me to transition into my dream company, and for believing in me!