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April Giangeruso: Ballerina From the Get-Go

American Ballet Theatre dancer April Giangeruso is a member of the corps de ballet of American Ballet Theatre. Photo by Tony Powell.

By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa.

At age five, Capezio Athlete April Giangeruso saw a production of American Ballet Theatre (ABT)'s Swan Lake at the Kennedy Center and could not wait to be a ballerina. That dream has pushed her along through her journey from her first ballet classes at a local studio in Ellicott City, Maryland, to training at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C., and all the way, full-circle, to her current status as a member of the corps de ballet with ABT. Even her after-career plans involve ballet: she hopes to operate her own studio one day. Giangeruso proves that dreams can come true.

Prior to her days at ABT, Giangeruso also trained with Valentina Kozlova at the Dance Conservatory of New York and at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at ABT. She joined ABT’s Studio Company in 2008 and then ABT in 2010. Here, Giangeruso offers a little insight on that journey, her fondest dance memory and even a tidbit of advice. 

When did you realize you wanted to pursue life as a ballerina? Along the way, did you ever have any doubts?

“I pretty much knew from the very beginning of taking ballet class that I wanted to be a ballerina. Every time I entered a dance studio, I didn't want to leave and would practically beg my mom to take me to the studio! I never had doubts; I always knew I wanted to be a ballerina.”

April Giangeruso of American Ballet Theatre

April Giangeruso in Aszure Barton's "Barbara." Photo by Gene Schiavone.

What made you want to dance with ABT?

“ABT was always my dream company. They have the best, most inspiring dancers in the world and get to perform at the Metropolitan Opera. Also, the world touring that ABT does fits in with my love of traveling, and getting to see the world doing what you love is even more special! Lastly, New York City is close to my family in Maryland, so it makes it easy to spend time with them as well.”

What is your favorite part about dancing with ABT, and what have been your favorite roles to perform so far?

“My favorite part about dancing with ABT is seeing all the insanely talented dancers around me. Also, there is very supportive camaraderie amongst the dancers, which makes coming to work every day all the more special. My favorite role so far has probably been dancing in Alexei Ratmansky's Firebird. It's such a magical, and both technically and artistically challenging, ballet.”

What has been your fondest memory during your time with the company?

“My fondest memory dancing with the company was touring to Muscat, Oman. Not only was the opera house majestic, but we also had a lot of time to explore the country.”

Who is your dance idol, and why?

“Julie Kent is my idol. Her artistry is so ethereal, and she is such a beautiful person on and off stage. She is one of the reasons I began dancing.”

April Giangeruso of American Ballet Theatre

April Giangeruso in "La Bayadère." Photo by Rosalie O'Connor.

What Capezio shoes do you wear? 

“I wear Capezio Elans. I love how comfortable and ready-to-wear my shoes are. They are very supportive, and the shape is pleasing to the eye.”

What do you like to do in your spare time, when not dancing?

“I love to spend time with my friends, and on breaks I teach a lot or try to guest dance.”

What do you think you'll do once you retire from performing?

“I love teaching and would like to possibly have my own school one day.”

What advice do you have for aspiring professional ballerinas?

“Listen, listen, listen! Take in everything around you and try to learn everything you can about the roles you are performing.”