Cupcakes & Conversation with Quenby Hersh, Coryphée, Scottish Ballet

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Cupcakes & Conversation with Quenby Hersh, Coryphée, Scottish Ballet

ballet dancer on pointe

Quenby Hersh in rehearsals. Photograph : Andrew Ross

What motivates you on a Monday morning? 

My alarm!

Why ballet? 

I have been dancing my whole life.  After begging my parents, they signed me up for a ballet class.

What are you looking forward to dancing this year? 

Song of the Earth, especially in Los Angeles at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.  Great memories!  Later in the year I will dance Aurora, which will be exceptionally challenging and equally rewarding.  Aurora is a dream role for me.

Who would you most like to dance with and what would you dance? 

I would love to dance Balanchine’s Who Cares? with someone who would enjoy dancing it with me.

ballet dancer on pointe

Sophie Martin as Alice, Quenby Hersh as the Cheshire Cat and Tomomi Sato as the White Rabbit in Ashley Page’s Alice. Photograph : Andrew Ross

If you could dance anywhere in the world (not only in a theatre) where would you dance? 

New York City.

How do you prepare your pointe shoes? 

I sew them simply with ribbon and elastic.  I break them in minimally to make them last as long as possible.

What is your daily routine at the moment? 

During rehearsal periods, I have morning class at 10am.  The company then rehearses from 11:30am until 6pm.

What do you eat during the course of a typical working day? 

I usually have eggs for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and something hot for dinner depending on my mood.  I try to drink more water than coffee.

You can ask six famous people to dinner- who would you invite? 

This is a fun question!   I assume I can bring a few people back to life:

Alan Moore, Danny Elfman, Bernadette Peters, Julie Kent, Eleanor Roosevelt, Benjamin Franklin.

What would surprise people about you? 

I enjoy school and take classes from the Open University.  I also love reading comics.  The medium allows for limitless storytelling.  I hope to be a creator someday.

ballet dancers

Quenby Hersh as Cinderella and Christopher Harrison as the Prince in Ashley Page’s Cinderella. Photograph by Graham Wylie

Who inspired you to dance?

Throughout my dancing life, I have been fortunate to be influenced by many strong, inspiring individuals.  I am inspired every day to dance.  I have the daily opportunity to express my emotions through my body.

What is your best piece of advice? 

Practice intelligently and dance passionately.

How do you prepare in the hours before a show? 

I do like to take my time putting on my makeup.  After doing that, I always go onstage to warm up and think about my approach for that show.

Which role has tested you the most and how? 

The ballerina in Scenes de Ballet.  The stamina required is incredible in itself.  The Ashton style is beautiful, but it is challenging to keep it up for the entirety of the ballet.  The feeling after the performance is amazing.  I was proud of myself after each one.

If you were asked to design your own costume, what would you create? 

This is difficult because a costume truly inspires me to become the character I am dancing.  I appreciate beautiful, romantic tutus for classical ballet.  On the other hand a simple leotard can be liberating for more contemporary pieces.

What do you look for in a dance partner? 

Tall and strong, of course!  It is wonderful to work with a helpful and open person who feels comfortable offering suggestions and taking them.  There is nothing more beautiful to watch than a genuine connection between two people on stage.

What is your favorite quote? 

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”  – Eleanor Roosevelt

Do you have a “signature step”- one that comes naturally to you? 

Turning comes quite naturally to me.

What’s been your best onstage moment so far? 

Completing my first Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker with Scottish Ballet.  I felt so proud of my performance, and felt the audience’s appreciation.  It was also my birthday – I could not think of a better present.

Do you have a secret skill which no one knows about? 

I am the Skip-It queen.  I could literally do it all day long.

ballet dancer on stage

Quenby Hersh is Ashley Page’s Pennies from Heaven. Photograph : Andrew Ross

In terms of your ballet career, where would you like to be a year from now? 

I would love to be dancing fulfilling roles injury free.

If you could dance in front of anyone, who would it be and what makes them special to you? 

My father.  He loves to tell people he was my first dance partner, which is very true.

Watch : Quenby in make up for the Cinderella poster.

Watch : Alice backstage broadcast featuring Quenby talking about her make up for the role of the Cheshire Cat.

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One Response to Cupcakes & Conversation with Quenby Hersh, Coryphée, Scottish Ballet

  1. May September 28, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

    Love the photo from Pennies From Heaven. She looks amazing in it!