Fort Wayne Ballet Spotlight – Meet HannahLeah!
Sep08

Fort Wayne Ballet Spotlight – Meet HannahLeah!

As we get closer to this month’s At the Edge performances, we spotlight another fantastic Fort Wayne Ballet dancer. HannahLeah Oeding is a company dancer and teacher at the Ballet. As a dancer, she rehearses and performs in all of the Ballet’s in-season productions and participates in various outreach programs in the Fort Wayne area. As a teacher, she teaches young students at the downtown studios and the satellite programs at both the Jorgensen YMCA and Parkview YMCA. HannahLeah is in her fourth season with the company. Living Fort Wayne caught up with HannahLeah to get a feel for what moves her. Selected responses are below. Can you tell us how you became involved with ballet?I started taking classes when I was very young, and fell completely in love with ballet after seeing The Nutcracker when I was five. When I was eleven, my mom decided it was time for me to start taking classes at a professional school whose main focus was ballet. I took classes at Inland Pacific Ballet and performed with the company on many occasions until I graduated high school. What is the most challenging aspect of performing ballet professionally?One of the most challenging parts of being a professional ballet dancer is maintaining and improving a high level of technique. Everyone has their own body’s strengths  and weaknesses. Once you are a professional, it becomes the dancer’s responsibility to take care of applying corrections and to seek out new information. The level of physicality that is required to dance a full evening of ballet is so high; if you aren’t improving, you are losing your edge. But even more importantly, dancers have to learn how to keep a positive mindset. We are so emotionally attached to what we do. Most of us fell in love with movement and the way it makes us feel at a young age, and that stays with us forever. However, at the end of a long rehearsal week or when casting gets posted and you don’t get what you want or expect, you have to learn to shut that out and just keep that young girl or boy who was spellbound by the magic in the forefront of your mind. We are all so blessed to be able to do what we  love everyday, and to share that joy with our audience. What artistic performance have you been the most proud of in your career as a dancer?Probably the opportunity to dance the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker. For me, it was such a personal achievement. I had grown up dancing the ballet every year and looked up to the plums...

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