Born: Toronto, Ontario
Trained: L’École superiéure de ballet du Québec in Montréal , Princess Grace Academy in Monaco and San Francisco Ballet School in CaliforniaIf you could live in any other time period, which would you choose?
I’d probably drive the time machine well into the future. I realize that I might regret my decision once I get there, but I’m really curious to know how peoples’ relationships to each other and the planet will look in several centuriesCould you tell us three random things we don’t know about you?
I’ve been taking online university courses for years in various fields. I’m learning guitar. I have the metabolism of a teenage boy which I realize is a blessing, however, I do spend a lot of money on food
Thoughts on dating: inside the dance world, or out?
I don’t have a strong opinion on this either way, but I’ve personally always gravitated towards non-dancers. I guess one upside to this is that I’ve spared myself the potential awkwardness of having to dance with someone after a bad breakup.Do you ever feel as magical as you look when you dance, or is it mainly just hard work and focus up there?
I’ve certainly had moments onstage that felt magical, but I’d say that it’s quite different from what the audience might experience. As a performer, I’d describe the feeling as that of ‘losing myself’ in the music and the character I’m playing; this grows out of an intense focus and physical awareness of my particular place on the stage and of my body. I wouldn’t say that I’m ever able to step out of my subjective point of view to see the ‘big picture’ of the performance as I would from the auditorium. That said, I do feel that both the performer’s and the audience’s experience of ‘magic’ grow out of the dynamic between the two – one wouldn’t exist without the other.
Ballet often seems to attract a very exclusive audience. Do you think that’s changing? What do you think it’s appeal could be to those who haven’t seen one yet?
It’s true that ballet is often viewed as an art form for a privileged elite and I don’t think we can deny that its European aristocratic roots will always play a part in the kinds of stories we tell onstage. Still, I’d like to think that ballet’s cultural appeal is broadening and many dance companies are tackling this issue in innovative ways. In my mind, the potentially universal appeal of ballet lies in the fact that we’re ultimately doing something very simple and primal; telling a story through movement and music. What’s the worst thing about being a ballet dancer and what’s the best?
For me, one of the most challenging aspects of being a dancer is the fact that our work doesn’t exist as something external to ourselves. It’s very hard not to feel criticism and rejection in an intensely personal way when it’s about how your body looks and moves, and any insecurity or lack of agency that we feel in the studio can follow us into other aspects of our lives. However, despite the rigours and challenges, the fact that I get to earn a living dressing up and dancing to live music is something I feel constantly grateful for.When you have a day off, what’s your favourite way to spend it?
I’d say a good day off would consist of having a ‘slow day’ with family and friends as well as a few hours to myself to read and be introspective. Regardless of the activity, not feeling rushed or harried in any way is very important to me.
What’s the last thing that brought tears to your eyes?
A very moving email I received from a kind and generous friend… one of those people whose light shines so brightly that he can’t help but shine it on others.What is your philosophy towards your work?
I’d say that keeping a healthy perspective on the place of dance in my life and cultivating outside interests helps me to maintain my enthusiasm in the studio.Read Alejandra’s bio, http://national.ballet.ca/Meet/Dancers/Principal-Character-Artists/Alejandra-Perez-Gomes
See Alejandra onstage in the 2015/16 season, national.ballet.ca