I present this week another amazing young artist, Abigail Simon. I first met Abigail at The School of American Ballet. Even though I loved my training there, I was definitely an outsider. It was the summer course and a lot of the kids already knew each other from the year round program. I got in on a late audition, thanks to my high school teacher, Joey Smith. I didn’t know anyone and no one really talked to me besides Avi Scher and Abigail. Now that I am older, I think it had more to do with my insecurities than anything else…I didn’t feel so… classical. I think we even matched up in partnering class a few times. I knew she was a star already then. She has a great smile and lots of passion.
Born into a family of performing artists, Abigail Simon began to dance and act at age three. She has danced professionally for 13 years, and joined the Joffrey Ballet as a company member in 2006. Prior to joining the Joffrey, Abigail danced with the American Ballet Theater (ABT) Second Company and was also an apprentice with the main company. Her early ballet studies began at Ballet Hispanico and the West Side Academy of Ballet in Santa Monica. She attended the School of American Ballet (SAB) for ten years, as well as programs in Kaatsbaan and Chautaqua, the Royal Ballet in London and the Joffrey Program in New York. Abigail signed as a Capezio Artist in 2014, and now also models for Aquage.
CAROUSEL marks her second production with Chicago Lyric Opera. Last fall she performed the role of the Ballerina in the company’s production of CAPPRICCIO starring Renee Fleming. In the past year, her career has taken her across the United States performing in over thirty Nutcracker productions as the Sugar Plum Fairy as well as Medora in Le Corsaire, and to Vienna where she performed Juliet in Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. Abigail performed principal roles in The Merry Widow, Balanchine’s Tarantella, Night, signature roles in Kettentanz and Reflections choreographed by Gerald Arpino, as well as many other featured roles. Prior to joining the Joffrey, Abigail danced with American Ballet Theater. She has worked with world renowned choreographers such as Wayne McGregor, Christopher Wheeldon, and Benjamin Millepied. After receiving critical acclaim as an actress Off Broadway in Stig Dalager’s I COUNT THE HOURS she was invited on Broadway to perform a specially choreographed solo by Gillian Lynne to celebrate Phantom of the Opera as the longest running show. In 2014 Abigail signed as an Ambassador/Capezio Artist. She now routinely models around the world and is recognized as an international guest speaker, teacher and ballet coach.
Abi always smiled when she saw me. It is those little things you remember about someone. Years went by and I would see her around the city and she was always the same smiling girl. I haven’t seen her dance in a while, but I did see her at the Joffrey Ballet Audition in 2006. She was fantastic. She rocked it… obviously. I always wanted to have her for this series and hopefully spread some of that good energy she has given me over the years. What a beauty she has become…Thank you Abigail for your inspiration.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a ballerina. There was a time from age 7 -12 where I was interested in being a vet but Ballet was always my big dream.
Did you always want to do what you’re doing now?
Yes! since the first performance of Nutcracker I watched at 3 years old. I feel so grateful that I have been able stick with it and get to follow my dream/still earning a living which I know is difficult especially in today’s world.
Favorite things to eat?
Sushi,Cuban, Italian and pretty much any kind of seafood
To be honest I wish I read more books but I love to read screenplays. Maybe it has something to do with my father being an Actor/Director 🙂
Don’t have one I love so many different films it’s hard to choose.
Favorite Dance Piece or Show/Musical or both?
Infra by Wayne McGregor and McMillan’s Romeo and Juliet.
I like dancers who…
Have exquisite technique but more importantly there soul comes out when they dance,oh and musicality/Coordination is a must!
I’m afraid of?
I’ve learned that fear is a tool to find courage to break through the fear to get what you want.
A dance piece should…
Some people don’t realize the good that comes from watching a great dance piece. When things aren’t going well in your life a great dance piece can take you somewhere else as well as move and inspire you. Sometimes you may even walk out of the theater as a different person with a new point of view. I always find it amazing how watching something with no words can be more powerful.
Something you like to do other your current job?
Over the last few years I’ve started teaching master classes all over the world and coach dancers privately. You learn so much from being on the other side of things and it’s quite fulfilling to pass along what you’ve learned through your training and career.
One of the happiest moments in your life?
I always told myself I would never feel truly fulfilled as a ballerina until I got the chance to dance the role of Juliet and I recently performed it in Vienna Austria for the first time! Seriously can’t describe the feeling but it made me incredibly happy.
One of the most embarrassing moments in your professional career?
I had recently graduated from the school of American ballet where we had zero ensemble training. American ballet Theatre picked me to be an apprentice for the Met season and one of the first pieces we did was Polovitzian dances. The whole group of women were to move down the stage with a Sauté clap step and I began with full energy to do it before everyone else. It was very noticeable and I was so embarrassed but the situation taught me to always keep your eye on the group no matter what.
Who has been the most influential person/people in your life? or Career? and why?
I’d say the most influential person in my career has been my teacher Beth Lacomb. She trained me in Yoga and Pilates since the age of 10 and spent hours talking to me about material achievements versus the spirit,heart and soul. Unfortunately in this world happiness is measured by success but you will never be happy unless it’s inside you first. It’s not easy in today’s world but when you find it incredible things happen.
One of the hardest things about your job?
It’s good to try to live as normal a life as you can but many times you start your day at 10am and on a performance day can finish as late as 11 PM your bodies exhausted and there’s just no way to do anything but go home and rest. Some will try to push it but it never lasts long. Then of course you get a day off but all you want to do is rest. This makes it difficult when it comes to relationships whether that’s friends or a significant other.
A piece of advice for aspiring artists?
Don’t have regrets. Everything you’ve done in your life has happened for a reason. Hard work and the ability to fall and get back up is so important. tomorrow is a new day and you never know what it will bring. If you’re passionate about what you do you never give up!