Name: Caitlin Lennon
Astrological Sign: Aquarius
Hometown: Bozeman, MT
Role in C’ville Ballet: Dancer
Food: Sharp white cheddar cheese and crackers with a glass of white wine, strawberries and/or raspberries with fresh whipped cream, and most things chocolate.
Color: Green comes first, but yellow takes a close second.
Book: I like too many books to just name one! I’m a huge fan of the Harry Potter series (actually in the process of rereading them all this summer). I also love The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass, all by Philip Pullman- a lot of life lessons can be learned from these three books.
Movie: Again- too many favorites… a random selection: Garden State, Little Miss Sunshine, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Best In Show, Fight Club, The Lives of Others, Life is Beautiful, The Hangover (I could go on and on and on…)
Quotation: “Well behaved women rarely make history” – Marilyn Monroe, and also “Get used to disappointment…” – The Princess Bride.
Spot in C’ville: Sitting on a park bench overlooking the surrounding mountains at sunset in Pen Park, ideally with a light breeze and some live music.
Business/Store in C’ville: The Charlottesville/Albermarle SPCA
NERDY BALLET QUESTIONS
Tell us about your dance background and training:
I started dancing when I was 3 years old after my parents took me to see a local production of The Nutcracker (I was convinced that I would be dancing the lead, Clara, by the time Christmas rolled around next year…turns out I had no idea how difficult ballet would be). By the time I was 14, it was clear that I wanted and needed more professional training than I was able to receive in my hometown. My parents and I decided that, challenging as it would be, I needed to move somewhere that I could focus all of my efforts on ballet. I found a fantastic ballet school 2 hours away from home, and moved into my dance teacher’s basement. I danced all day, and home schooled myself through high school at night. During summers, I attended many renowned ballet schools’ programs- Ballet West, Houston Ballet, American Ballet Theater NY, Atlanta Ballet, Juilliard, and Richmond Ballet. When I was 18, I was offered a position as a company trainee with Richmond Ballet, which I accepted. I performed with Richmond Ballet for two seasons. I also met Charlottesville Ballet co-directors Sara Jansen and Emily Mott while living in Richmond. I was thrilled to receive a company contract with C’Ville Ballet, and this upcoming season will be my third dancing with the company.
What genres of dance do you enjoy?
As cliche as it sounds, I honestly enjoy almost ALL genres of dance. When I was younger, I was a bit of a “bun-head”– my main interest was classical ballet. As the years have passed though, I’ve realized how fantastic and amazing the diversity of dance can be.
What kind of pointe shoe do you wear?
Currently, I wear Freed Studio 1, size 5.5 D.
Do you have a favorite ballet:
I love so many ballets that it’s hard for me to pick a couple as absolute favorites. I guess I’d have to say George Balanchine’s Serenade is definitely one of my favorite ballets I’ve ever danced. It’s such a beautiful piece… and the music is stunning. Each time I performed it, I was nearly in tears by the end. A more contemporary ballet that I love is Jiri Kylian’s Petit Mort. I haven’t had the pleasure of dancing it (yet!), but I’ve watched the video of Netherlands Dance Theater performing it countless times. Similar to Serenade, one of the things that is so striking about Petit Mort is the musicality of the choreography. It’s almost as though the music exists purely for the dance, and the dance exists for the music. Petit Mort also has AMAZING use of props. Check it out on YouTube!
What’s your favorite ballet/dance step:
My favorite thing to do is jump. Specifically, I love to leap. Give me a grand allegro with a bunch of saut de chats and I’m set.
Tell us, why do you dance?
This is a tricky question to answer… I’ve been thinking about it for several days; trying to figure out how to describe why I, personally, dance. Basically, what it comes down to is that I dance because I have to. I’m hesitant to use the phrase “have to” for fear that it tends to make one think of something forced or unpleasant. What I’m saying has nothing to do with unpleasantness or something unnatural– I dance because I can’t live without it. I can’t imagine NOT dancing. I fell in love with it at an early age and it has become an integral part of who I am. I love the physicality of ballet– working daily on perfecting some small thing that can never actually be perfect. I love the artistry, finding new ways to express myself, or to express a feeling or a thought or…anything really. I especially love performing. When I’m onstage, the world seems to make sense. It’s as though everything else has melted away and it’s just me and the audience. Through all of the hard work, through all of the ups and downs, it’s the performances that make it all worthwhile.
What other jobs/activities/academic pursuits are you involved in? In addition to dancing with Charlottesville Ballet, I teach for an education outreach program called Minds In Motion. Basically, I teach a 45 minute long “movement-based” class once a week to all public city fourth graders. The students work all year and present a performance (with over 300 dancers onstage!) to the public each spring. Not only has it been a huge success, but it is extremely gratifying work.
I also attend PVCC part time, knocking my general education credits out of the way so that when I decide I’d like to go to school I have a head start on things.
What other talents or passions do you have? Anyone who knows me at all will tell you that I’m obsessed with animals. I grew up with lots of cats and dogs, and simply can’t get enough of them. I currently have a pet bunny named Bunny (original, I know), and visit the SPCA weekly to interact with all of the fantastic critters they give a home to.
Anything else you’d like to express: As nice as it is to have the summer off, I’m itching to get back to work in the studio! C’mon, September….
Caitlin’s full professional bio can be found online at www.CharlottesvilleBallet.org.
Thanks for enjoying our “Meet the Artist” segment–
and look for a new Charlottesville Ballet artist profile next month!