The Director of the IBA Career & College Guidance Program recently interviewed Joanna Henn, who was selected to be featured in this month's Student Spotlight. Joanna was voted to be in the Spotlight by her fellow dancers in IBA's Pre-Professional Division.
IBA: Congratulations, Joanna, on being selected by your peers to be featured in IBA's Student Spotlight for the month for December. How long have you been dancing, and tell us about where you danced before coming to IBA.
JH: I've been dancing for 11 years. I danced with Emmanuel Arts, Master's School, IBA, Artios Conservatory, and Dance Arts Greenville (formerly School of Carolina Ballet Theatre) before returning to IBA.
IBA: What have been your best moments as a dancer?
JH: My best moments have been dancing as Clara in the Nutcracker in 2015 and dancing as a soloist in "Jumpé" from La Bayadere with International Ballet this fall.
IBA: Who are the biggest influences in your life?
JH: My mother, Pamela, has inspired me to have determination in pursuing my goals and an insatiable desire to learn by her constant example. My IBA instructor, Juliana, has encouraged me to pursue my passion for ballet continuously over the years and has challenged me to explore all aspects of dance.
IBA: What do you like to do outside of the dance studio?
JH: I enjoy playing pool, board games, and card games as well as watching sci-fi movies, listening to classic rock, reading murder mysteries, and shooting at the range.
IBA: There are other ballet studios in the area. What made you decide to return to IBA?
JH: There is a level of excellence at IBA that I wanted for myself, and I appreciate the level of consideration for the dancers.
IBA: What is your dream ballet role?
JH: I would love to dance the part of Giselle because of the depth of her character, the challenging technique, and the complex plot of the ballet.
IBA: Just for fun, complete this sentence. "Ballet would be better without _____________."
JH: Muscle cramps!
IBA: What advice do you have for younger ballet students?
JH: Don't get caught up with the level of ability you are at currently. Keep working hard, and you will see improvement over time. Everything will come together if you are persistent.
IBA: You were chosen for this honor by your peers. What would you like to say to them?
JH: I am definitely honored, and I hope to continue to be a positive example and encourage others.
IBA: Finally, Joanna, do you have any goals or plans for the future in regard to dance that you want to share with us?
JH: It would be incredible to have the opportunity to study ballet in Russia with either the Bolshoi or Mariinsky Ballet. I hope to become a professional ballet dancer with a major company in the US and ultimately work as a choreographer.
IBA: Thank you, Joanna. Again, congratulations and best of luck to you. We are looking forward to watching you dance with International Ballet this spring.
Joanna Henn, soloist in "Jumpé" from La Bayadere, International Ballet's L'Automne, Fall, 2017. (Photo by Jerry Finley Photography)