Another incredible season of Ballet BC has ended and we’re busy preparing for our 29th season launch in the fall. In the meantime, we’re excited to announce a new feature to find out what some of our former artists are up to now.
Artist: Ainslie Cyopik
When did you dance with Ballet BC?
I was with Ballet BC from the very first day, at the beginning of 1986, and danced with the company for 10 years.
Where are you originally from and where did you train?
I am from Welland Ontario, and trained at a small local school before going to The Quinte Ballet School near Kingston, in its early days. Following my training, my first job as a professional dancer was with The National Ballet of Canada in Toronto.
What was your favourite memory during your time with Ballet BC?
I have so many great memories, it’s difficult to choose just one! To name a few:
When we toured in Asia. One of our tours was a six week adventure where we performed in four countries in Southeast Asia . That was a truly fantastic experience. Fascinating, fun, culturally stimulating, fulfilling and one of a one of a kind.
Dancing "in the middle, somewhat elevated" by William Forsythe and having him come to Vancouver to rehearse us. It was equally exciting, thrilling and terrifying at once.
All the wonderfully (sometimes wacky) tours we went on. In the early days, we really moved together like a tight knit family and we built wonderful bonds. Because we all started at the same time, at the beginning of this new fledgling company, we built the future together. There was no past to rely on or be compared to.
Why did you choose Ballet BC as the company to dance with?
I liked the idea of a smaller company that was planning to do a mix of exciting and innovative new contemporary works and neoclassical favourites, vs classical full length ballets.
In your opinion, what makes Ballet BC unique as a dance company in Canada?
Ballet BC really has a unique and fresh repertoire that is different from other companies in the country, crafted firsthand on the dancers here.
What are your thoughts on Ballet BC’s latest work under the artistic leadership of Emily Molnar?
I loved the last performance I saw in April, UN/A. The choreography was exciting, immensely challenging for the dancers, and rewarding to watch. It’s admirable where Emily is taking the company and I’m so impressed at how quickly she is moving it forward. I’m amazed that the level of dancing just gets better and better. I’m left in awe of the dancers and their talent.
What you’ve been working on since you’ve left Ballet BC?
When I retired from my performing career, I became a yoga teacher for a short period of time. It was a great transition out of dance. But for years I had been designing and making my own dancewear for class and rehearsals, as well as for dancer friends in various companies. Creating dancewear really was a passion and my dancewear clothing company, AinslieWear, slowly and organically emerged. It became my full time endeavor 15 years ago. We have our own factory here in Vancouver and sell our line of beautiful bodysuits to over 250 stores around the globe at www.ainsliewear.com
Are you still involved in dance? If yes, how?
Aside from making clothing for dancers, I enjoy Argentine Tango. another passion of mine! I miss the performance days of covering space on a big stage but performing tango with a great partner is a good second. As the saying goes, once a dancer, always a dancer. I am also on the board of two dance companies here in Vancouver.
How did being a professional dancer with Ballet BC help you in your recent pursuits?
A professional dancer has to be pretty driven to succeed in such a demanding career. You have to keep going through many difficult and challenging situations, often when the body would rather take a rest. But the show isn’t over until the curtain is down, and one develops a strong will to persevere because of that. I also worked in the wardrobe department while I was dancing at the company, which helped fuel my creative outlet. These things helped pave the way for me to start my own clothing company and make it work for the long term.
What are you looking forward to in the coming year?
Oh, another endless list I can’t narrow down! I’m always looking forward to my next travel adventure, either for work or personal interest. And I always look forward to live dance and theatre performances here in Vancouver, or wherever I happen to be.
What advice would you give aspiring artists today?
Keep following all your interests, as well as dance. Keep open and inquisitive about what is going on in the world around you.
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Were you formerly with Ballet BC? Get in touch with our alumni program at firstname.lastname@example.org