20 Questions with Corps de Ballet Member Isabelle Bratt
October 4, 2022
The National Ballet of Canada welcomes Isabelle Bratt to the company, one of 15 new dancers joining the Corps de Ballet this season. Get to know her better through our “20 Questions” series, as she shares details about her life and career in dance. Welcome Isabelle!
Isabelle Bratt. Photo by Admill Kuyler.
What inspired you to join The National Ballet of Canada?
Growing up in Toronto and attending Canada’s National Ballet School, I have always followed the National Ballet. I love the repertoire and always wanted to come back to Toronto at some point in my career. When I learned that Hope Muir was taking over the directorship, I saw an exciting opportunity and went for it! I couldn’t be happier.
What would you have done as a career if you hadn’t pursued ballet?
I always loved math and science in school so I think I would have gone into the health sciences and worked with athletes.
Have you ever had an embarrassing moment on stage?
Before coming to the National Ballet, I was at Ballett Zürich and in their version of The Sleeping Beauty there are birthday guests who do a waltz in Act I. The costumes are these large strapless ball gowns and in one of the shows my dress started becoming a bit loose. While I was in a lift on centre stage the top was pulled down a bit too low and I kind of flashed the whole audience! My friends and I had a good laugh about it afterwards but in the moment I was mortified.
What is your work philosophy?
I believe that self-discipline and hard work are the keys to being a successful dancer. To come into the studio every day and give your best no matter what is not only more rewarding but also feeds into the energy for everyone in the room.
How do you handle criticism?
I love receiving criticism. I always try to take it in and apply what is being said because most of the time you can’t see how things look from the audience’s point of view.
What's your definition of a successful ballet dancer?
Someone who can transport the audience into the work they’re dancing. If you can make someone feel something and take them into your world even just for a moment, I think that’s success.
What’s the best thing about being a dancer?
The feeling you get when you dance your heart out and leave everything on the stage. It’s truly unmatched.
What’s the worst?
Trying to turn off your self-criticism when you leave the studio. It’s really difficult not to let yourself overthink and analyze everything you do.
What music are you listening to right now?
In the summer, I always get really into country music because it just makes me feel good. It’s the best on long drives to the cottage or by the water.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I’m a huge foodie so I love to cook and try new recipes. Toronto also has such a great food scene so I’m always on the hunt for a new restaurant or café to try!
What are three things most people don't know about you?
- I used to do TV commercials as a kid.
- I’m a fierce card player.
- I have hiked all over the Swiss Alps.
What cheers you up on an off day?
Going for a long walk in nature and listening to music, a podcast or calling a friend!
Do you have any bad habits that you're working on breaking?
I have a nervous habit of playing with my nails so I’m trying to keep them painted so I’m less likely to ruin them.
What is your favourite ballet?
Onegin by John Cranko. I would love to dance Tatiana one day.
Is there a costume that you really fell in love with?
My costume in Christian Spuck’s Anna Karenina. I had this gorgeous dark brown dress with long mesh sleeves and lace detail. I never wanted to take it off!
Where would you like to travel, but haven’t yet?
I would love to travel to Japan because I think it would be interesting to see both the different cities and the beautiful nature. I also love Japanese food.
What are you reading right now?
I love murder mystery novels so I’m currently reading When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain.
What’s the top item on your bucket list?
I have a pretty big bucket list but one thing I would love to do is go skydiving in Switzerland.
What is your perfect meal?
My perfect meal is from my favourite healthy Toronto restaurant called Impact Kitchen. I get the Zesty Mexican Power Bowl and the Chocolate Sea Salt Cookie. I highly recommend it to everyone I meet!
What is your favourite onstage memory?
At this point, it is probably dancing Crystal Pite’s Emergence last season with Ballett Zürich. When you are so in touch with the group around you and you can feel the excitement, nerves and confidence on stage, it’s magical.
Learn more about Isabelle
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