Name: Liz (Elizabeth) Clain-Stefanelli
Age: 23
Astrological Sign: Aquarius
Hometown: Arlington, VA
Role in C’ville Ballet: Company Member
Food: Italian food is my favorite in general, especially basil and pesto dishes. I also love trying different types of cheeses accompanied by red wine. Some of my favorite desserts are apple pie a la mode, cheesecake, and tiramisu.
Color: Mainly lilac, but I go through phases of liking other colors too.
Animal: Bunny rabbits!

Book: I am a huge fan of Dan Brown novels (The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, and The Lost Symbol), the Harry Potter series, and Stieg Larsson’s books The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire. I can’t wait to read the third book. I am currently reading Andre Agassi’s book, Open, and absolutely love it.
Movie: I love so many movies for so many different reasons, but my favorite classics are Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Singing in the Rain, and Easter Parade. Then I really enjoy watching Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants I and II, Pretty Woman, Moulin Rouge, and James Bond movies. I can’t leave out the chick flicks either– I love them all.
Quotation: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain.” I also enjoy “Life beats down and crushes the soul; art reminds you that you have one.”
Spot in C’ville: I just moved here, but so far have really enjoyed walking on the Downtown Mall, especially when there are live bands playing.
Business/Store in C’ville: I haven’t been all around C-ville yet, but can tell I am really going to enjoy trying all of the different places to eat in the area. So far I have had brunch (my favorite meal) at The Nook and thought it was absolutely delicious. I really enjoyed getting to sit outside too.
Tell us about your dance background and training:
I started dancing when I was 6 and didn’t like dance at first, because I wanted to play outside. When I saw my older sister performing in the show I would have been in, I had my mom enroll me for classes the next day and haven’t stopped since. I was trained at the Washington School of Ballet, which was extremely classical with tastes of contemporary, jazz, and modern. I was a part of musicals too and loved getting to combine acting with dancing, but was not so talented in the singing area. I attended Marymount of Manhattan in NYC for a year, but their Dance Department was very focused on modern. While the emphasis on modern techniques helped me expand my knowledge, I found my true passion was ballet. I then moved to Pennsylvania to transfer toMercyhurst College, which was more classically concentrated. Even though the dance program was based in ballet, I still got to dance all genres and had the opportunity to perform a huge range of choreography. I think coming from a ballet background has enabled me to learn many different styles of dance and I am always excited to learn new, challenging types of choreography. I also studied abroad in Amsterdam in the summers of 2006 and 2007. It was an intensive that was run by Valerie Valentine from the Dutch National Ballet, which included many of her friends from the company and many leading dancers and teachers from Europe. In the final performance, I got to perform with dancers from the Dutch National Ballet. This YouTube video is from a piece called “Ghanwa Bossanova” I performed in Amsterdam, choreographed on us by Maurice Causey from Nederlands Dans Theater.

Amsterdam stands as my most exciting dance experience and I hope to get the opportunity to dance in Europe again someday.

What genres of dance do you enjoy?
My favorite genre is ballet, but I am really interested in contemporary styles as well. Generally, I have found that I enjoy all genres of dance when the choreographer inspires me and teaches me new ways of approaching dance and performing.
What kind of pointe shoe do you wear?
I wear Capezio Glisse Es Pro 8M.
Do you have a favorite ballet:
There are so many amazing ballets; it’s challenging to have to pick just one! I love George Balanchine’s work and one of my favorite pieces is Jewels. I think the dynamics of music, grace, speed,and coloring is the perfect combination. Check out segments of the work performed by Pacific Northwest Ballet:

My favorite Balanchine piece that I was was fortunate enough to perform was Valse Fantaisie. It is exquisite from beginning to end with the music and the intensity. It was definitely the most challenging and rewarding piece I have been a part of.

What’s your favorite ballet/dance step:
I love pique turns, especially in a manège (a circle around the outside of the room or stage).
Tell us, why do you dance?
I dance simply because it makes me happy. My parents have always told me that I should do what makes me happy. When I dance– whether it is painful, frustrating, grueling, tedious, sweaty, or time consuming– I somehow always finish with feelings of happiness and gratification that make me want to do it again the next day. Dance has been a large part of my life for as long as I can remember; it has definitely sculpted the person that I am today. I don’t really know what it would be like not to dance, but I have an inkling that I would feel like something was missing. From endless strengthening exercises in class, to rehearsal, to stretching, to performing– I love every aspect of it!
What other jobs/activities/academic pursuits are you involved in? I just started working at the Mellow Mushroom on the corner, which has been great fun so far. It will be my first serving job. This past year I have been active taking pilates and hope to become certified this fall in pilates mat classes. I hope to go to graduate school someday, but at the moment am enjoying just dancing.
What other talents or passions do you have? When I have the time and a partner, I enjoy playing tennis. I love being outside and tennis is a great way to combine physical activity and pleasure. Sometimes I wish there could be a dance studio outside. I also love being in, on, or near a body of water- it’s very calming and soothing. Lastly, I have a talent for organizing anything and everything. I can’t help it!
Anything else you’d like to express: I’m very excited to start my first season with C-ville Ballet!

Liz’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!

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