Born: Nanaimo, British Columbia
Trained: Kirkwood Academy of the Performing Arts in Nanaimo, British Columbia and Canada’s National Ballet School
Which movie could you watch on repeat?
The Princess Bride.
Have you ever had an embarrassing moment performance-wise?
Of course! Everyone has. Most of mine have been when I’ve ended up on the floor when I wasn’t meant to. Once in my second year in the company I made an entrance thinking it was time but I was early. I flew on stage with so much energy only to run off again and then return at the right time. It was one of the first times I’d been given a semi-featured role. I was mortified.How do you handle criticism?
The nature of the profession requires that a dancer take criticism to improve. The day to day corrections I receive from my coaches I see as their effort to help me be my best and I am eager to hear what I can do to be better.
However, of course in life there are instances where a criticism is more hurtful. Whether it is a bad review or a friend’s tough love, no one likes hearing anything negative about oneself. But, after my initial hurt I try to evaluate the criticism and objectively reflect on whether it has merit. If it does then I take action and if not I try to let it go.What’s your definition of a successful ballet dancer?
I believe a dancer is a success if he/she has had an emotional impact on an audience.
What’s the worst thing about being a dancer and what’s the best?
The worst thing is when an injury happens. The best is the time onstage in a role I love.Do you ever feel as magical as you look when you dance, or is it mainly just hard work and focus up there?
The magic is real! So much of a dancer’s job is hard work and focus but if it were only that no one would do it. There is something about being onstage in a role I love that is indescribable.
Do you have a celebrity crush?
What cheers you up on an off day?
Words of advice for young dancers?
Play to your strengths. Of course work on your weaknesses but don’t value the strengths of others over your own. If you try to be something other than you are you will hide your best qualities.When are you most proud of yourself?
When I keep going even when things get hard.
Do you have a favourite quotation?
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” – Anaïs NinRead Jillian’s bio, https://national.ballet.ca/Meet/Dancers/Principals/Jillian-Vanstone
See Jillian onstage with The National Ballet of Canada during the 2015/16 season, national.ballet.ca