Thank you for tuning into another Beyond The Barre. This week, we feature Tracy Jones who has been with Colorado Ballet for four seasons. Tracy reigns from Ireland and has danced all over the world. We bonded over our time living in Spain and missing the quaint lifestyle of living in a mountain town.
KH: Where are you from?
TJ: I was born in Ireland and when I was 11, I moved to London to train, stayed there for eight years and moved to Spain. And now I’m in Colorado. While in Spain, I lived in Segovia, just outside of Madrid. I also lived in Barcelona; the company I worked for toured a lot too, so I got to see a lot of (Spain) and the world, which was nice.
KH: What’s been your favorite place?
TJ: I really love Segovia. It was a really simple way of living and it’s where I met Francisco, a soloist at Colorado Ballet and husband of 2.5 years. [Emphasis added]
KH: How did you know you wanted to dance ballet?
TJ: My mom used to dance when she was younger and so when I was five, she sent to take ballet lessons. When I was about 10, my ballet teacher in Ireland took my mom aside and said this, “kid has a lot of potential” so they took me over to London to audition for the Royal Ballet School and that’s kind of when I knew I wanted to give it a go and do it for a long time.
KH: What’s your favorite thing about Denver?
TJ: My friends. I have a really good group of friends and they’re all pretty much from the company. Colorado Ballet has a really nice family feel to it. My closest friends are people I work with and I feel like not a lot of people can say that, so that’s awesome.
KH: What do you eat for breakfast?
TJ: Normally I’ll have a croissant with a banana and soy latte. On the weekends, I like to go for brunch or if I’m really adventurous we’ll cook some eggs and bacon at home, but generally we go to brunch.
KH: What’s your favorite brunch place?
TJ: Jelly Café downtown is really great and then there’s also Four Friends Kitchen.
KH: Do you have any hidden talents?
TJ: My handwriting is really neat, does that count?
KH: Yeah! People are making a living with their handwriting.
TJ: Well, I would say that!
KH: What inspires you to push past your limits?
TJ: That’s a good question, for me as I’m getting older I realize I’m doing it for me and for the audience. Sometimes you get into places where you put too much pressure on yourself and you feel you have to do everything perfectly. You have to remember that it’s an art form and ballets are never going to be perfect. People that come to watch want to be transported somewhere, so for me remembering that and remembering it's more about the art and why I love to dance that helps me when I get down in a rut.
KH: What is the last song you listened to?
TJ: I listened to some Christmas music this morning on the way to work.
KH: What is the next goal you have set yourself?
TJ: At the moment, I’m thinking about getting my Realtor license, I think that could be cool. I like to branch out and have things outside of ballet too.
KH: What is the biggest misconception about being a professional ballet dancer?
TJ: That we don’t eat. That’s the most common question I get asked, “Do you have to be on a really strict diet?”
KH: If you could only keep five possessions, what would they be?
TJ: I’d have to have an outfit of some description because that’s appropriate. I have some jewelry passed down to me from a great aunt when she passed away that’s pretty special, so that would be on the list. Do my puppies count? I have 2 puppies and I guess my passport because I’d always be able to travel.
KH: What is your favorite movie?
Moulin Rouge--Baz Luhrmann’s awesome, his stuff is great and I love Nicole Kidman and I like musicals too.
KH: Three words to describe yourself?
TJ: Organized, determined and I’d say hard-working.
KH: What does your perfect day look like?
TJ: Sleeping in a bit, going for brunch with Francisco and some friends. I’d take the dogs for a nice walk in our neighborhood and maybe go to the movies. We don’t have a lot of time to just chill out because we get so busy, especially during performance times so it’d be pretty low-key.
KH: If you hadn’t chosen this career, what might you be doing?
TJ: I’ve always been drawn to law. I’m not sure if that’s something I’d transition to at this stage of my life but I think if I could relive life and not do ballet, I would try my hand at being a lawyer.
KH: What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
TJ: That I speak Spanish. I don’t look like I should speak Spanish.
KH: What would you tell your 10-year-old self?
TJ: Always follow your instincts and try not to take things too seriously. I still need to remind my 28-year-old self that. Just take everything with a pinch of salt, take the good things and don’t hang on to bad things. It’s easier said than done but that’s the advice I’d give.
KH: What words do you live by? (life motto)
TJ: "Always remember, you are Braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think." -A.A Milne (from Winnie the Pooh).
KH: How long have you been doing The Nutcracker?
TJ: I started doing the Nutcracker when I was 11 years old. I grew up doing it in the Royal Ballet production and then with English National ballet and I did the Nutcracker suite in Spain and this is my 4th season doing it with Colorado Ballet.
KH: What roles are you playing?
TJ: The doll, Clara’s mom, crystals, Spanish, Arabian and Marzipan divertissements.
KH: Do you have a favorite role?
TJ: I would say the Arabian is my favorite, but I also like doing Doll because there are some funny moments like fake slapping Drosselmeyer. It’s always cute to hear little kids laughing and seeing that reaction. That’s why we do it, for them.
KH: What are you most excited about with this year’s Nutcracker?
What gets me through Nutcracker every year is remembering that for most people in the audience, it’s their first time coming to Nutcracker or the ballet or it’s a family tradition that they do every year. That always makes me excited when we're about to go into 28 shows. I always think there’s a little girl out here and this could be what makes her dream of becoming a ballerina.