Rebekah RimsayPrincipal Character Artist

Rebekah Rimsay, Principal Character ArtistBorn: Fort Collins, Colorado
Trained: Canada’s National Ballet School

What would you have done as a career if ballet hadn’t come your way?
I think I would have done something in health care. I loved science in school and am fascinated with how the human body works, then there is the added bonus of helping improve quality of life for others.

Have you ever had an embarrassing moment performance-wise?
I have had my share of slips, wipe outs, prop mishaps and costume failures however dancing right out of my skirt as a peasant in Romeo and Juliet was one of my most embarrassing. Thue hooks of my skirt came loose and I didn’t notice that my skirt was undone until my feet became entangled as it slid down my legs. I hid in the crowd scene with only a partial over-skirt covering my legs until a peasant boy picked it up and delivered to me it later in the act.

Words of advice for young dancers?
Find balance; take care of your body, mind and soul, work hard then rest, feed your curiosity and keep learning.

What is the best advice you’ve been given?
One of my first Ballet Mistresses said “take it all in and throw out what you don’t need” in other words, pay attention and learn from everyone and every experience then make choices that apply to you as an individual. I still need to tap into that advice regularly.Rebekah Rimsay, Principal Character ArtistWhat is your philosophy towards your work?
I try to understand the perspective of the choreographer and the audience and attempt to bridge that gap to convey the intent of the choreography, whether it’s a character of a story that needs to be brought to life or an abstract theme, feeling or idea.

How do you handle criticism?
Criticism is essential to our work as performers. Since we are unable to see ourselves, we need an external eye to guide us and let us know where we are failing to communicate or need to refine our technique. I constantly remind myself not to take criticism too personally and to trust my coaches and their wealth of knowledge and experience. From audience members and dance critics, I see criticism as an opportunity to measure if my performances are being received as I intended.

What do you think its appeal could be to those who haven’t seen one yet?
I do think it’s changing. I feel that many Canadians are seeking new experiences and ways to unplug from their electronic worlds. The appeal can come in many forms such as appreciating pure athleticism, escape into timeless stories or watching music come to life visually; all with live people in front of them instead of a screen.Rebekah Rimsay, Principal Character ArtistMilk chocolate or dark?
Dark chocolate, milk chocolate…. either really, I love chocolate.

Favorite colour and least favorite colour?
I’m really into blue lately, clean, cool, calm, icy blue. I have no least favorite; we need them all.

What’s the worst thing about being a dancer and what’s the best?
The best part of being a dancer is the ability to become other people, of other worlds, eras, magical creatures or the embodiment of music. I am compelled by the escape into different worlds. The worst is probably the pain; no need to elaborate.

What cheers you up on an off day?
Anything funny. Luckily there is a social closeness in a ballet company that allows for a good deal of humour to circulate the studio space so I seek out an entertaining conversation with friends or after work, my family. Laughter perks me right up.
Rebekah Rimsay, Principal Character ArtistDo you ever feel as magical as you look when you dance, or is it mainly just hard work and focus up there?
I do feel magic when I perform; a magic that is bigger than me and crafted through the culmination of choreographers, dancers, musicians, technicians and designers, that all synchronize to create an experience with a common goal. I absolutely rely on this magic to keep me inspired. The focus and hard work, however, always have to be present in the background as a framework for the magic to happen.

What do you worry about?
I am a worrier; I worry about lots of things. I worry if I don’t worry enough. I worry that I worry too much. I worry that my worrying is worrying others. It’s endless really.

Thoughts on dating: inside the dance world, or out?
I married outside the dance world and it’s incredibly balancing at the end of the day to not have my whole day come home with me. Having said that; I think one should just hope to find the right person to date/marry regardless of their profession as I have seen double dancer relationships flourish too.

Read Rebekah’s bio,
See Rebekah onstage with The National Ballet of Canada during the 2017/18 season,