I sat down with Sarah Tryon, a corps de ballet member with Colorado Ballet last week. She is tiny in stature but big and bold in personality. She quickly puts you at ease with her infectious laughter. Sarah is from a small town in Ontario, Canada and was accepted to train at Canada’s National Ballet School at the age of 11. Since then, she has trained in places from Zurich, Switzerland to New York City. She is in her second season with Colorado Ballet.
KH: Out of all the places you have lived, what’s been your favorite?
ST: Here definitely, work wise and rep wise and boss wise. New York City was amazing but Colorado feels more like home and I love living by the mountains.
KH: How did you know you wanted to dance ballet?
ST: I honestly got sick of sports and I wanted to try something new and I just kept with it.
KH: What kind of sports were you in?
ST: Baseball and hockey. I was also in Boy Scouts because it was co-ed in Canada.
KH: What do you eat for breakfast?
ST: Every morning I have a toasted bagel with cream cheese and tomato on top and two cups of coffee. And I’ll eat half a protein bar in between classes.
KH: Coffee or tea?
ST: Coffee, of course, every time. Just with cream.
KH: What are three words to describe you?
ST: Silly, generally shy, that’s when the silly comes out and adventurous.
KH: Have you been on any adventures lately?
ST: Not lately, because Nutcracker season's busy, but normally during the summer I’m in the mountains like every single weekend somewhere.
KH: What are you doing for the holiday break?
ST: I’m going to Vancouver! I’ve never been to the West Coast of Canada and I’m really excited. My friend and I are going up to Whistler and taking snowboarding school. We’ve been dancing our whole lives, so we never got a chance to actually do it. So we thought it would be really funny if the two of us joined forces, laughing at each other trying to snowboard. Going to wear a lot of padding!
KH: Do you have any hidden talents?
ST: I’m a sharp shooter. A friend’s dad took me shooting in Florida over Thanksgiving when I was working down there and I discovered that I hit the bulls-eye every time, I had no idea. I’ve never been around guns before because they are illegal to own in Canada outside of a hunting rifle, so I was terrified. Eventually I worked up the courage and I just happened to get the bulls-eye every single time.
KH: I won’t mess with you! What is the biggest misconception about being a professional ballet dancer?
ST: That we’re not athletes. People like to say it’s not as hard as football or hockey but it’s actually just as strenuous, just in a different way. We’re a high performance sport but we also have to look beautiful while doing it, which adds another element of difficulty to it.
KH: What’s your favorite recipe to cook?
ST: It’s not a recipe, but I really love to cook steak. I eat it like three times a week. Also, another favorite is a recipe from my friend. It’s a quiche with spinach, watercress and smoked salmon! It’s delicious!
KH: What’s your favorite movie?
ST: You’re going to laugh at me again, (as she whispers) Inglorious Basterds
KH: Oh, that’s such a great movie!
ST: It’s such a great movie. I love Tarantino, he’s amazing because I am really squeamish, but when it comes to Tarantino it’s so overdone that I can sit through and watch it. Like the guy gets his head blown off and I’m like oh yea, that’s normal. I watched it three times in a row when I first saw it over Christmas break.
KH: What’s your jam? What’s your guilty pleasure song?
ST: “Shake it off,” by Taylor Swift. It helps me cope with stress, just shake it off.
KH: Finish this sentence: you haven’t really lived if:
ST: You haven’t traveled. I spent a month in Italy this summer with a friend.
KH: What did you do? What was a highlight?
ST: Horse backing in Florence through vineyards because I’ve never been horseback riding and it was terrifying. I also didn’t know the physical commands, but they also only understood Italian because they're Italian horses and my horse would just veer off into a field and I would just yell “help, I don’t know how to turn my horse around.”
KH: Yea, horses are fun but intimidating. I went horseback riding this September and the guy who owned the horses said, “their just like big dogs” and for some reason when he said that it changed my mind-set and was like, “Oh I can handle this.”
ST: I wish someone would have said that to me! I kept thinking this is a massive beast that weighs 20 times as much as I do and could crush me if he pumps me off, that’s what was going through my head.
KH: Finish this sentence: A ballerina walked into a bar and:
ST: I mean like, a ballerina walked up to a bar and started doing plies. Such a dad joke!
KH: What inspires you to push past your limits?
ST: All the teachers that told me I wouldn’t be a dancer.
KH: What’s a highlight of 2016?
ST: My trip to Italy with a friend I haven’t seen in five years.
KH: What words do you live by? (Life motto)
ST: Persevere and laugh a lot! And wine!
KH: What would you tell your 10-year-old self?
ST: Trust your instincts, definitely! For me personally, whenever I’ve trusted my gut feeling, it's always worked out for the best for me rather than listening and then questioning and second-guessing stuff that people are telling me from the outside.
KH: You just finished The Nutcracker, what will you do first?
ST: Bottle of wine! Well I’m going to hightail it to the airport and land in Vancouver and have a bottle of wine with my friend.
KH: What are you looking forward to for 2017?
ST: I am looking forward to two of my best friends' weddings, and a road trip with my family on the West Coast. Also, I’m really looking forward to Serenade because so far I’m cast as Dark Angel and that’s typically a tall dancer's part and it’s something I thought I would never dance because of my height, so it was a surprise.