Name: Kelly Silliman
Astrological Sign: Pisces
Hometown: I was born and raised in Bloomfield, CT; I now live north of Charlottesville in Dyke, VA.
Role in C’ville Ballet: Board Member and Resident Choreographer. My studio, The Dance Barn, is the official rehearsal home of Charlottesville Ballet.
Food: My favorite food has been basil pesto for as long as I can remember. I love cheese and vegetables. I also have a serious and barely-controlled sweet tooth. Ben and Jerry’s……Mmmm!
Color: I like reds and purples.
Book: My two faves are Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières and The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I also love The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley and pretty much anything by Barbara Kingsolver or Margaret Atwood.
Movie: It’s probably Good Will Hunting…I love me some old school Matt Damon.
Quotation: “Aw, I see what’s goin’ on here. We done disturbed the freak hive, and all the worker freaks is trying to protect the queen!” –Glee
Spot in C’ville: I like the McGuffey Arts Center and the Downtown Mall.
Business/Store in C’ville: I’ve got to give props to Maya Restaurant. (The “Free Range Chicken Breast” is sourced from Sweet Dog Farm!)
NERDY BALLET QUESTIONS
Tell us about your dance background and training:
I trained in ballet for ten years before discovering modern dance as a teen. I studied modern and ballet and spent a lot of my time choreographing in high school, but my main interest was musical theater. In college I started teaching dance at a local studio and loved it, and realized that teaching and performing on the local level was what I wanted to do with my life. My full bio can be found here: http://www.dancebarn.net/faculty.html
What genres of dance do you enjoy? I like modern and ballet best, followed by jazz and theatre dance, tap, hip hop, ballroom, and various obscure styles.
What kind of pointe shoe do you wear?
I currently am using a Bloch pointe shoe, maybe a Serenade? I am ambivalent about it, although I like it a lot better since I made it a 3/4 shank, but I’m not dancing on pointe enough to complain, or spend too much time finding the perfect fit. My all-time favorite shoe was a Capezio Prelude but I don’t think they make them anymore.
Do you have a favorite ballet:
Of the classics, I like Sleeping Beauty. I haven’t seen enough live contemporary ballet to really choose a piece from that genre. My favorite modern company is Alvin Ailey. All that said, in general I prefer smaller, local companies’ work to their larger, more famous contemporaries. I feel more invested in watching when I know a company has roots in the community.
What’s your favorite ballet/dance step:
I love turns in ballet, especially traveling turns. In dance in general I love floor work and really athletic choreography.
Tell us, why do you dance?
I can’t imagine not dancing. I get twitchy if I go too long without using my body, and no other movement practice brings me as much joy and satisfaction. I love the combination of athleticism and soul-searching artistry. I love discovering new things about my body in every class and rehearsal. I love that I can offer so much and still have so much to learn. I love the sheer physicality of dance, and I love the creative outlet.
What other jobs/activities/life pursuits are you involved in?
I own my own studio, The Dance Barn, in Stanardsville, VA. My husband and I own Sweet Dog Farm, where he raises pastured poultry as well as goats, dogs, cats, and kids. We home school our four children, ages 11 months to 8 years old. I perform and create work as an independent dancer/choreographer. I love to read. I am constantly striving to live with less impact on the earth, and with a greater focus on local, sustainable living and community.
What other talents or passions do you have?
I can tie shoelaces in a bow with my toes.
Anything else you’d like to express: I am thrilled to be working so closely with Charlotteville Ballet. Since I moved to this area in 2003 I have wondered why Charlottesville didn’t already have a professional ballet company, and it is really exciting to be involved with this growing group of amazing dancers. It is positively decadent as a choreographer to work with professionals on a regular basis!
I am especially looking forward to bringing together some of the Charlottesville Ballet dancers with local modern dancers in a new work I’m creating called Ordinary Joy. We will be performing the piece at Miki Liszt’s First Friday Series on September 3rd at McGuffey Arts Center. I also hope to do a Greene County showing in The Dance Barn’s studio theatre!
Kelly’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!