20 Questions with Monika Haczkiewicz
July 16, 2020
1. What are the top three activities you have been doing during social distancing?
I ended up going back to my hometown of Las Vegas during quarantine to be able to spend more time with my family. While I’ve been here, I’ve loved doing my morning Pilates classes outside in the warm weather, going for swims in our pool and learning new recipes. I love to cook!
2. What would you have done as a career if ballet hadn't come your way?
Since I was a little girl, I’ve absolutely loved the ocean so I think I would have gone into something like marine biology or environmental sciences.
3. Have you ever had an embarrassing moment performance-wise?
The most recent embarrassing moment I’ve had wasn’t during a performance but during class onstage which has an audience. I was coming out of a pirouette and landed completely on the floor!
4. What is your work philosophy?
I believe that hard work is incredibly important but you also have to work smart and to really focus on the details to understand your body’s needs and find out what works for you.
5. How do you handle criticism?
When I was just starting my professional career, I didn’t handle criticism very well but now I’m grateful anytime anyone gives me notes or corrections because they’re taking their time to help me improve and grow.
6. Do you have any habits or superstitions before you perform?
Before any performance, if I feel like there is something I really need to work on, I practice it three times. I’m not sure why I have to do it three times but I’m definitely a bit superstitious with that. I also have a little saying that I say to myself right before I go onstage that makes me feel calm and ready for any show.
7. What's your definition of a successful ballet dancer?
I believe a successful ballet dancer is someone who can move an audience and fully and wholeheartedly become the character they are portraying. For me, watching a performance and feeling the emotions of the dancers onstage is truly beautiful and unlike anything else.
8. What’s the best thing about being a dancer and what’s the worst?
The best thing about being a dancer is being able to perform. The feeling of performing for an audience and the energy they give back to you is so liberating and exciting. I wouldn’t give it up for the world. I think the worst thing about being a ballet dancer is how short-lived professional dance careers can be and how hard dancers can be on themselves.
9. What's your guilty pleasure song that'll make you rock out no matter where you are?
10. What are three random things most people don't know about you?
- Both of my parents were acrobats with Cirque du Soleil.
- I have an old fat cat named Olga.
- I love to sing.
11. What was the last thing you changed your mind about?
Which plant would add the perfect little touch to my tiny Toronto apartment.
12. What cheers you up on an off day?
Calling my little sister Annick. No matter what, she always knows how to cheer me up.
13. Do you have any bad habits that you're working on breaking?
Trying to stay as positive as possible during these trying times. Sometimes I get down and can be too hard on myself so I’ve been trying to be grateful for all the blessings I have in my life.
14. What is your favorite memory of being onstage?
My first season with Atlanta Ballet
, my previous company, I performed in Liam Scarlett
. The music and the movement quality in that ballet is like no other and it still gives me goosebumps to think about how lucky I was to be able to perform this piece.
15. Favorite ballet?
. When I was a little girl my mom used to play the music and I used to dance around to it. I have always dreamed of being able to perform the role of Odette/Odile.
16. What's the biggest risk you've taken, either personally or in your career?
When I was 17, I left my family and home in Las Vegas to join Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet School
. There’s always so much uncertainty with starting a ballet career and I’m so grateful to everyone who’s helped me along the way to get to where I am now.
17. When are you most proud of yourself?
I think I’m most proud of myself when I see the results of something I’ve been working on. It’s really rewarding to see improvement on something that I might’ve been struggling with.
18. Tell us about an awe-inspiring thing you've seen or experienced.
Both of my parents were acrobats with Cirque du Soleil so growing up they were always a huge inspiration to me. Going to see the show they performed in was the most amazing and magical experience and inspired me to want to become a performer as well.
19. Do you have a favourite quote?
“Love yourself first and everything falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” – Lucille Ball
20. Finally, what is the top item on your bucket list?
I have always dreamed of being able to perform and tour all over Europe.