by: Sophia Ortega
Happy Q&A Friday! Our first Ambassador in this new series is Holley Johnson. Besides ballet, 18-year-old Johnson is passionate about pursuing her college degree and engaging in issues surrounding social justice. Read below to find out more about this talented ballerina.
Where are you from?
I am from Whidbey Island. It is a little island outside of Seattle, Washington.
What pointe shoe do you wear and why?
I wear Russian Pointe Rubins because I feel very supported. Also, the tip of Rubins are nice and flat which helps me with turns and balance.
Who is your biggest dance inspiration?
Deborah Hadley, former Principal Dancer with Pacific Northwest Ballet, is my biggest dance inspiration. Besides being one of the most beautiful American dancers, she is the strongest and most driven person I know. Without her, I would not be the dancer I am today. Her extensive years with PNB have filled her with more dance wisdom than I could ever dream of having. She has a way of making everyone around her aspire to be a better version of themselves.
What is your dream dance company?
I have always dreamed of dancing with the Dutch National Ballet. I went to their summer intensive last summer and fell in love with the company and Amsterdam.
Why did you choose the University of Oklahoma to continue your education and dance training?
Choosing between a trainee position and going to college was a difficult decision for me. At first, I thought the only way I could become a professional ballerina and join a company was through a trainee position. However, after more thorough research, OU looked like the better option for me. By majoring in ballet performance at the University of Oklahoma, I can continue to improve my rigorous dance education and have many performance opportunities! Michael Beardon runs the dance program like a company, with classes in the morning and company rehearsals at night. The class sizes are very small and the faculty really cares about each one of their dancers. By going to OU I will be able to continue progressing in my ballet training and audition for companies throughout the years. Finishing up with a Bachelor's degree at the end of the four years was the final deciding factor.
Besides dance, what else are you passionate about?
I love to travel and explore new places and cultures. Traveling has really opened my eyes and broadened my perspective on life in general. Within the last few years, I have become more active in social justice and human rights issues. As the saying goes - “No one is free when others are oppressed.” I believe we become more conscious of what is going on in our world by traveling and exploring other cultures.
What is your go-to song before you hit the stage?
I actually don’t listen to music before I go on stage. I prefer for it to be completely quiet at least five minutes before I go on, as this helps me feel centered and calm before I dance.
Thanks for reading today’s Q&A! Follow Holley on Instagram @holley.j to stay updated on her bright and busy future. Want to be next week’s featured Ambassador? Tag us in your best dance photo en pointe on Instagram @thepointeshop.