20 Questions with Jeannine Haller
May 4, 2020

Hannah Fischer. Photo by Karolina Kuras.
1. What are the top three activities you have been doing during social distancing?

During this time of social distancing I have been doing ballet, Pilates and workouts at home, reading a lot, and trying new recipes and projects. I successfully made a kombucha scoby so am brewing my own!

2. What would you have done as a career if ballet hadn't come your way?

Honestly, I don’t know... I’m so lucky to have ballet, as I don’t know of anything that's as fulfilling mentally, emotionally and physically.  
3. Have you ever had an embarrassing moment performance-wise?

I certainly have! A couple years ago we were in the middle of our Nutcracker shows and I was doing the snow scene every show like most of the Corps de Ballet ladies. I led a group of us on for our first entrance and one night I was distracted and perhaps overly relaxed about it and ran out a whole 16 counts early! I quickly realized I should not be onstage so I ran back off and regrouped to enter at the correct time... definitely very embarrassing!

4. What is your work philosophy?

I always try to work my hardest and never forget that I am privileged to do something that I love so much as my job. 
5. How do you handle criticism?

Getting feedback and criticism are a big part of a dance career and while usually it’s constructive, sometimes it can sting. I try to just take the correction and use it to improve and let go of any negative emotional feelings.
6. Favorite colour and least favorite colour?

Judging by the clothes and leotards I own, my favourite is probably blue and least favourite is orange!

7. What's your definition of a successful ballet dancer?

To me a successful ballet dancer is someone who has made the most of opportunities and is proud of what they have accomplished in their career, while continuing to constantly improve and explore. 
8. What’s the worst thing about being a dancer and what’s the best?

The worst thing about being a dancer is dealing with all the aches, blisters and potential injuries that come with the job. The best part for me is dancing onstage, inhabiting a story or expressing an idea, with beautiful music and a live audience. It's a magical experience.

9. What's your guilty pleasure song that'll make you rock out no matter where you are?

I don't really have one. The music I’m into really depends on where I am and how I'm feeling.

10. What are three random things most people don't know about you?
  • I love to organize things.
  • I’m currently obsessed with John le CarrĂ© spy novels.
  • I’m a morning person but only after my coffee!
11. What was the last thing you changed your mind about?

This is random but I used to hate mushrooms passionately but now they've really grown on me.
12. What cheers you up on an off day?

Talking with my friends and family, they always know how to help me put things into perspective and cheer me up!

13. Do you have any bad habits that you're working on breaking?

When we are performing, I tend to buy a lot of coffees at the many lovely coffee shops around the theatre. It adds up to be a slightly expensive bad habit but I can't say I’m that motivated to break it!
14. What is your favorite memory of being onstage?

There are so many! I think a recent favourite would be performing in William Forsythe’s The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude. It is such a demanding ballet yet so fun and freeing at the same time and once you’re able to breathe again, you feel like you've really accomplished something.

15. Favorite ballet?

Giselle has always been my favourite ballet. The music by Adolphe Adam is beautiful and combined with the touching story and wonderful dancing for all ranks it makes what I think is the perfect package. It was the first ballet I ever saw the National Ballet perform live and I’m lucky to have already been able to perform in it twice in my career so far.

16. What's the biggest risk you've taken, either personally or in your career?

I think the biggest risk I've taken so far was choosing to go to Canada's National Ballet School and pursuing a career in ballet. Before that, I wasn't even sure I wanted to dance professionally but I decided to give it a go and thankfully it worked out very well!

17. When are you most proud of yourself?

I’m most proud of myself at the end of a stressful or challenging performance when I know I’ve tried my hardest and done my best, while also really enjoying myself.

18. Tell us about an awe-inspiring thing you've seen or experienced.

Last summer, I was in Peru with my friend and fellow company member Calley Skalnik. We went to Machu Picchu and watching the sun rise over the mountains with so much history and beauty around us was truly awe-inspiring.
19. Do you have a favourite quote?

I like this one by Albert Einstein: “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” 
20. Finally, what is the top item on your bucket list?

I was going to go on a trip to Scotland this summer so that's pretty high on my list still though there are so many places I’d love to visit.

Learn More About Jeannine


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