Stella Abrera, Soloist with American Ballet Theatre
What career would you choose if you could not be a dancer? SA: I would be a restaurant owner/chef What are your worst fears (professionally or personally)? SA: Professionally: injury. Personally: (other than the obvious: losing family or friends) I have a real phobia of snakes. I avoid them at all costs. Even the rubber snake that "bites" Nikiya in Act 1 of La Bayadere makes the hair on the back of my neck stand straight up. Which person (dead or alive) would you most want to dance with if you could? SA: Gene Kelly (I must have watched Singin' in the Rain a thousand times as a kid). If a child told you they wanted to be a dancer, what would your advice be? SA: Work with determination and grit. Every day endeavor to reach your full potential. If you aren’t successful on a particular day, be proud of trying, and then get back in the saddle again the next day. And cross train. If you could be an animal, what would animal would you choose and why? SA: I'd love to be a big wildcat of some kind - tiger, lion, cheetah, panther. I love how lithe, agile and graceful those animals are. What is your greatest indulgence? SA: Lazy Sundays: sleeping in, staying in my pajamas until early afternoon, brunch (always with a side of bacon), pouring over foodie magazines and the NY TImes, watching CBS Sunday Morning, getting a massage, having a decadent dinner and going to a movie at the best movie theater in the city (the Ziegfeld theater--when you walk in, it's like traveling back in time)--all of this with my gorgeous husband, Sascha Radetsky. I also love a good midnight snack. Clearly, my favorite indulgences involve food! What 3 items do you always have in your dance bag with you? SA: Lipstick (a gal always needs a lovely lipstick ready for a quick spruce up), spearmint Tic Tacs (to be considerate of my partners), and the ever-forbidden rosin (because slipping and falling sucks). What career would your family have chosen for you? SA: My family would have supported any profession about which I were passionate. What is your idea of perfect happiness? SA: Refer to above description of my Sundays. Who would you like most to have a coffee with (could be dead or alive)? SA: Cleopatra What is your favorite city to tour to and why? SA: Athens--legendary ABT tour. One summer, we performed at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, an outdoor theater at the foot of the Acropolis. The extreme temperature restricted us to working only after dusk, so we spent the day lolling on the beach and lunching al fresco by the sea. When the sun went down, we took class and then did the show. Performing on such a historic stage, looking up at the Parthenon in the moonlight while dancing some really fun repertoire was unforgettable. And on the free days, we roamed on foot and feasted our eyes on all of the amazing historical landmarks. What was your biggest mishap in a performance? SA: Snow Queen (Kevin McKenzie’s Nutcracker) Washington DC--before my entrance, I (half-jokingly) begged the stage manager to please ease up on the amount of snowfall during the snow scene at the end of Act I. He apologized and told me he was under strict orders to make it really look like a blizzard…in other words, expect more snow than usual. About 10 seconds into my solo I face-planted. For a split second, I was tempted to make a snow angel ;-) Instead, I got up and finished my solo in the blizzard. The show must go on, after all. Is there a special meal you have before performances? SA: I love a big sandwich a few hours before the show (e.g. turkey, salami, swiss, lettuce, tomato, pickled peppers, on wheat toast), then I take a quick power nap, then a coffee and half a chocolate chip cookie as I apply my makeup. (I eat the other half on my walk home as my post-show treat/appetizer for dinner).