Erica Lall has been a dancer with American Ballet Theatre for four years, with roles in The Nutcracker, Aurora’s Wedding, and more. Now in Texas, she sat down to answer all of our questions about life in the ballet corps.
Q: What originally drew you to the ballet?
A: What originally drew me to ballet is just how difficult it was. I am a perfectionist and I loved how hard it was for me to get it, because I don’t have naturally flexible hips or these arching feet. I really loved the challenge that ballet gave me.
Q: What is your day-to-day training like?
A: If we’re performing, we usually have a 10:15am-10:45am technique class, rehearsal from 12pm-4:45pm, and then our show is usually 7 or 7:30pm, and we end around 10pm.
Q: What’s one thing about the ballet that would surprise people?
A: I think everyone would love ballet. It’s just that not everyone has the exposure to the ballet world or the accessibility to drive down the street and there’s a ballet going on right there, which is what’s so beautiful about New York. There’s always theater happening, there are always companies performing, and you have the opportunity to see all different kinds of styles. But I think everyone would really enjoy the ballet, and there’s little bits of each ballet that people can relate to, or understand, or would just feel excited about.
Q: How do you create your perfect ballerina bun?
A: I always like to leave little curls out. I sometimes do double buns, which is super fun, but my favorite is a high, thick ballet bun.
Q: What are your tips for stage fright?
A: I don’t typically get stage fright, but if I’m feeling a tad bit nervous, I’ll kind of twerk backstage. It’s funny, but it really gets the nerves shaken out of me and I’m just kind of grooving backstage. If I’m on stage left, I’ll be looking over at the dancers on stage right and we’ll just connect and do silly things.
I also I love being backstage because we have all of our corps ladies in the dressing room together and we’ll play music and sing along. I really love listening to Hamilton before a show because I know all the lyrics and it gets me riled up and excited.
Q: How would you style the Sacchetto Ballet Flat?
I would style the flat with a mom jean—nothing super tight—and then I have this white top on with some little puff sleeves.
Q: Where is your New York happy place?
A: Definitely any of the parks in NYC. There’s such a hustle and bustle in New York, and then when I enter the parks, I honestly feel like I’m in a different place. There’s so much greenery, it’s calm and peaceful, and people are out laying on blankets and having picnics and that’s just so relaxing to me. It’s where I go to watch the sunset.
Q: Coffee or tea?
A: I am definitely a tea person. I have tea every morning, sometimes in the afternoon, and I’ll have an herbal tea or chamomile if I’m going to bed. My mom is from Jamaica and my dad is from Trinidad, and they’re both tea drinkers so that’s been passed down.