Alissa Minard- From the U.S. to Poland

Alissa Minard- From the U.S. to Poland

Payton Field , Public Relations Manager

6 days, 27 hours, 1,620 minutes; a studio full of sweat, inspiring music, and determined ballet dancers. For sophomore student, Alissa Minard, this is her idea of an idealistic life.

Ever since the age of 3, Alissa has had a passion for ballet. She began her training at Hearts and Step dance studio in Alger and a few years later, she transferred to the Michigan Ballet Academy here in Grand Rapids.

“Ever since I was little, I have loved to dance,” Alissa said. “[Ballet] helps me keep my mind busy and I also love performing.”  

In past years, Alissa has performed in many ballets; including, La Fille Mal Gardee, original contemporary pieces, and The Nutcracker. Throughout her many years of performing in The Nutcracker, Alissa played roles; such as, snow and flower corps, Clara, Spanish, Marzipan, Dream Fairy, Bon Bon and a Mouse.

During performance season, rehearsal schedules are often rigorous and demanding. The day usually begins after school when Alissa heads directly to the studio. Usually there is an hour and a half technique class and a four and a half hour rehearsal.

“Sometimes performing in a ballet is stressful,” Alissa said. “And even though it is stressful, I still love it. I love seeing the look on peoples faces and I get to spend time with my friends.” 

Recently, in addition to her other performance opportunities, Alissa had the opportunity to travel across the world and perform for audiences there.

“[This past summer] for two weeks, me and some of the students at my studio traveled to Europe and performed for different audiences there,” Alissa said. “ The main thing we did there was dancing and it was such a fun and great experience.”

According to Alissa, her main ballet teacher knew teachers and dancers at the Polish National Ballet. Some of his other colleagues had done a trip like this in the past and her teacher was eager to take his own. 

They traveled to different places; such as Poland, Warsaw, Swidnik, and more. Some of the repertoire they showed was original contemporary pieces and classical ballet variations. They performed alongside companies, like the Polish National Ballet, and for Alissa, it was a very positive experience.

“I had so much fun on the trip,” Alissa said. “Ballet has taught me how to manage my stress [and by going on this trip], I learned a lot more about how to manage it and perform in front of  large audiences.” 

These performances and learning opportunities contribute to her dream of becoming a professional ballerina. Alissa hopes to join a company and dance professionally in the years to come.

“I want to be a professional ballet dancer,” Alissa said. “I don’t exactly know where I want to go, but I know that ballet is in my future.” 

Although the chances of a ballet dancer making it in the professional world are slim, Alissa’s hard work, determination, and past opportunities are already setting her up for success.

“I have been dancing since as long as I can remember,” Alissa said. “Ballet lets me take my mind off of everything that happens in my daily life and I really can’t imagine my life without it.”