GETTING TO KNOW YOU - A SELF INTERVIEW: JURGITA DRONINA BY JURGITA DRONINA.

23 June 2020

Foreword: Althea-Marie Edwards-Pennant

Jurgita Dronina is the lead principal dancer at not just one, but two ballet companies on different continents; simultaneously. Let that sink in for a moment...she is prinicpal dancer at both English National Ballet and National Ballet of Canada, splitting her time between both companies. As well as performing she is also the founder of her own charitable foundation, has her own dancwear line and takes time to coach.                

We could not think of a better professional to be our first interviewee and we were more than delighted when Jurgita said yes. So we sent Jurgita a series of questions to answer and these are the answers in her own words. She even added a question...for which we have to give bonus points!

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© Karolina Kuras

DB: WHAT IS IN YOUR DANCE BAG?

JD: Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, bandages, silicone toe (to protect my big toe from bruising), scissors - these are an essential and must-have anywhere I go with my dance bag! But I also carry one of my warm up suits from the Bosaddo by Jurgita Dronina line, that keeps me warm while I travel from studio to studio, or waiting for the rehearsal, or warming up ... and I am a huge fan of vests ( I wear one from my line). I often take class in a vest and rehearse with a vest while wearing a skirt, tutu or pants, it goes with anything! Ankle warmers are also a must for me, I love the feeling of warmth; and warm socks! I wear them over pointe shoes, or just on their own.  You will always see me in warm socks! Last but not least - booties, or so called moon boots - to travel the corridors of the theatre or studios!

DB: NAME THE ONE THING YOU CANNOT TEACH WITHOUT?

JD: I think by now I have adjusted to situations where I can teach in any conditions, LOL!

No music, no proper space, no proper floor, no proper barre, no mirrors, no pianist - No problem!

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© Karolina Kuras

I am a huge fan of vests ... I often take class in a vest and rehearse with a vest while wearing a skirt, tutu or pants.

DB: WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF BALLET CLASS?

JD: Definitely a barre! Through-out my career I have realised that I can judge a day ahead from the barre. On the days when I have a good barre when I feel placed and well warmed  up - centre work and jumping are a pure joy! And after a good class I feel energised and excited to go to rehearsals!

On the other hand, if I feel sluggish and not properly warmed up at the barre - the centre work is a real struggle...And usually I don't even progress to the jumping section of the class. I have learned not to take risks of possible injury, just because my body does not feel warm and ready to progress in class. In such case I prefer to stop the class and do extra barre on my own before rehearsal. Or continue with weigth training at the gym to keep strength and make sure I activate all the necessary muscle groups for the upcoming day of rehearsals.

DB: WHAT IS IT LIKE TEACHING ONLINE?

JD: It took me some time to adjust to online teaching, as in pre-covid life I have never worked this way and did not even imagine this could be possible! At the beginning I felt lonely and talking to an empty space or "my camera" to be exact....However, once I started receiving feedback and beautiful comments from all the people that are taking class "on the other side" - I felt more confident.

When I teach open class via Zoom - I see people taking class together with me, I sense what their mood is and speed for that day and I adjust my class to the dancers' needs. But when I teach privates or small group classes - I am not doing class myself anymore, my focus and attention is entirely on the students, I actively give corrections, I might stop students and ask them to repeat what's needed, just as I would do in the studio. I show exercises full out and make sure students truly understand what I am asking for, as I am not able to physically correct them. I explain corrections by showing all on myself. 

DB: FAVOURITE DANCE MOVIE?

JD: White Nights

DB: YOUR FAVOURITE DANCE IDOL?

JD: There are quite a few of today's dancers that inspire me in their unique way of dancing or moving. However if I have to single out only one ballerina, that has been a huge dance idol all my career - it would be Natalia Makarova.

DB: FAVOURITE ROLE THAT YOU DANCED PROFESSIONALLY?

JD: Too many to mention and each of the roles I have created are very dear to me! Could you single out your favourite child..? No way!

DB: WHICH ROLE WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE DANCED?

JD: I still have a lot of years ahead of me! So hopefully a lot of new roles and creations ahead :)

DB: WHAT IS THE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF?

JD: Have a healthy dose of criticism towards myself. I have learned that way to late. I was always the hardest critic of myself, and still am! - but I have learned to be critical towards myself without actually working against myself! I wish I would have learned healthy criticism early in my career.

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© Karolina Kuras

I was always the hardest critic of myself and still am! - but I have learned to be critical towards myself without actually working against myself

DB: WEIRDEST WARM UP OUTFIT?

JD: Before Bosaddo and I have created Bosaddo by Jurgita Dronina heat retaining clothing line, I used to wear so called "garbage bag" pants and a jacket made from actual "garbage bag" pants! I had a lot of comments towards my "garbage" look, but as long as they kept me warm and sweaty - I did not care! Now I have launched my line - I am happy to always feel warm while training, just in a much more elegant and classy look :)

Bosaddo and I have put a lot of work and teste every single garment to make sure it is made from the highest quality material and is heat retaining, comfortable and elegant. NO more garbage bag pants!

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© Karolina Kuras

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© Karolina Kuras

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© Karolina Kuras

DB: WHAT'S BEHIND BOSADDO BY JURGITA DRONINA CLOTHING LINE?

JD: Bosaddo is a young Lithuanian sportswear/active wear clothing brand that is celebrating it's 1st birthday! Bosaddo approached me a year ago and asked if I would like to create my own line, within their existing brand, but with the purpose and mission of my choice.

Coming from a family who had heavy financial struggles, but believed I should follow my heart and my necessity to dance, it was my genuine wish to help grow, develop and inspire those blessed with the gift of dance, but are less fortunate in being able to take those steps towards achieving their full potential.

It was one of my greatest motivations to find a way to contribute and to enhance the abilities of young talented students by inspiring them to believe that any goal can be reached with focus, practice and unbreakable determination while consistently moving towards their dreams!

So when I was given the opportunity to realise my long-time dream - I started thinking about clothing and designs that would represent what I stand for: strength of personality, determination, individuality and artistry.

All of the clothing had to be heat retaining, sporty, yet elegant and most important - comfortable to move in - whether it's in class, rehearsal, gym, yoga or pilates, or simply for daily indoor and outdoor use!

I made sure I tested all of the clothing myself and asked my colleagues to wear samples and give me honest feedback of what can be improved. I chose materials, colours, designs and every detail of each product.

We are a very new on the global market, but our product is truly unique as well as it's clothing with a purpose. Everyone who wears Bosaddo by Jurgita Dronina clothing directly contributes to our mission as 10% from the profit of each sold product from the Bosaddo by Jurgita Dronina line, goes to the Jurgita Dronina Foundation, which will support talented students globally.

I am eager to start using the foundation to help students to go to competitions, summer intensives, seminars, auditions abroad!... So many ideas! Cannot wait for them to materialise!

DB: LASTLY, BEFORE GOING ON STAGE YOU HAVE TO DO THIS ONE THING?

JD: A prayer.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

DB: ADAGE OR ALLEGRO?

JD: Adage

DB: SKIRT OR SHORTS?

JD: Shorts

DB: TIGHTS OR LEGGINGS?

JD: Tights

DB: MARK WITH YOU FEET OR HANDS?

JD: Hands

LEGWARMERS OR TRACKPANTS?

JD: Trackpants

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© Karolina Kuras

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