Amy Brandt (Corps de ballet) hails from Libertyville, Illinois, and received her initial dance training at Dancenter North, the Ruth Page Foundation, and the Milwaukee Ballet School. She later joined the Milwaukee Ballet, where she danced featured roles in works by George Balanchine, Alonzo King, Mark Godden, and Anthony Tudor, among others. She joined The Suzanne Farrell Ballet in 2003, where her repertoire includes featured roles in Balanchine's Agon, La Valse, and Divertimento No. 15. Amy has also danced with Dances Patrelle and Ad Hoc Ballet, and is a contributing writer for Pointe magazine. Amy also serves as the Company's Shoe & Tights Coordinator.
What is your favorite role to dance and why?
I have so many! I love the fun and jazziness of Balanchine's Rubies and Who Cares. But if I had to choose, it would probably be the Peasant Pas de Trois from Swan Lake. Not only does the role include lots of jumps and hops en pointe (which I love), but it also calls for lots of personality. And Tchaikovsky's grand, gorgeous music always fills me with excitement and joy.
How do you prepare yourself for the physical challenges of dancing ballet?
Years of dancing professionally has taken a toll on my body, so before class I spend a lot of time trying to loosen up or strengthen my "problem areas," like my ankles and hips. I'm not naturally flexible, so after class I stretch my hamstrings and back for about 15 minutes. When the day is done, I massage and ice any tight or swollen areas and sometimes take a bath with Epsom salts. I also try to schedule massage and acupuncture appointments when I can.
Do you feel an affinity for a particular choreographer?
I definitely feel an affinity for Balanchine. His movement style feels very natural to me, and I love his musicality. His choreography always makes me feel like I have to stretch myself to the limit, and I appreciate a good challenge.
What do you like to do when you're not dancing?
I love to read, anything from fiction to historical nonfiction to the newspaper. I write a bit too, and recently wrote some articles for Dance Magazine. I also enjoy traveling, going to museums, the theater, or listening to live music. But mostly I enjoy a night out with my friends - it doesn't matter where we go as long as we're having fun.
What is the most common myth about being a ballerina?
That we don't eat! So many people think female dancers live off iceberg lettuce and Diet Coke. And yes, there are a few of those types out there. But not me - eating is one of the highlights of my day! Besides, I wouldn't have the energy to get through rehearsals without a good meal.
What's the biggest reward in your career?
I think the most rewarding experiences in my career have been performing for children. I was once part of an educational outreach team that would give demonstrations to second grade classrooms, and for some of these kids we were their first exposure to ballet. It was so rewarding to hear their raw reactions, blurting things out loud and clapping excitedly. I love bringing a little bit of joy to a child's day and teaching them something new.
What do you do as the company's shoe coordinator?
In addition to dancing with the company, I also manage the dancers' shoes. It's my job to keep files on everyone's shoe size and specifications, place orders, and make sure everything is delivered on time. I also have to do a lot of problem solving; last minute casting/costume changes and back ordered shoes are common sources of stress!