Aug 13, 2019
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra chats with Skylar Campbell, Principal Dancer at The National Ballet of Canada. While Campbell has spent the majority of his career at The National Ballet of Canada, his quick rise to stardom has been recognized internationally, including gaining a mention in Dance Magazine’s “Top 25 to Watch in 2015” list. Skylar has also been awarded a Bronze Medal in the Pas de Deux category at the 2009 Youth American Grand Prix and was a finalist in the 2009 prix de Lausanne — a prestigious, invitation-only dance competition.
Having ballet-dancing parents, Campbell was introduced to the art from a very young age but didn’t decide to pursue ballet as a career until his mid-teens. However, from that moment until now, Skylar’s trajectory quickly escalated, gaining a fair amount of notoriety along the way. On the podcast, Skylar recaps his whole journey and shares some wisdom he’s picked up, including how to keep goals from becoming a distraction, how being on stage can have a calming effect, how success in dance is more than keeping the right steps, and more.
“Being a dancer is so much more than the steps. I encourage people to let loose and leave your heart out there."
“Dance can teach a lot… Even if you put your kids in dance and they don’t become professionals, it wasn’t a waste. It teaches so many things that are applicable to your ‘little toolkit’ in life."
“Dance is a beautiful form of escapism for audience members. There is nothing like it. The theater, overall, will never die."
“The stage is bliss for me. It’s where I found my calm… Even when I retire, I always want to be active."
“Don’t focus on the things that you need to work on all the time. Highlight the things that you know you can pull off really well. And people will be amazed by it."
“I found ballet to be more appealing to my personality than any of the other forms of dance."
“I didn’t set any serious long-term goals. I took every day as a new challenge and worked baby steps along the way. It turned out to be something that I would have never dreamed of."
“[When you’re young in competitions] you’re always thinking about the medal… It’s so hard to block that out. But I couldn’t stress more that that is not what directors are looking for."
“When I’m on the stage, I feel free. I want to be true to myself, to the audience, and to anyone who’s watching — that this is what ballet is and this is what ballet can be and this is who I am."
“I had dreams, but I didn’t let them affect my daily routine… I didn’t let the little things eat away from my overarching goals."
Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:
2:01: Skylar discusses how he first got introduced to ballet and why he was drawn to ballet above all other dance forms.
7:20: Skylar explains how, through his goals, he accomplished so much in his ballet career in such a short amount of time.
9:01: Campbell describes the feelings of being invited to compete in the prix de Lausanne — an invitation-only competition of the world’s most talented young dancers.
11:15: Campbell explains why he feels most comfortable on the stage, as opposed to being in the studio.
12:44: Skylar retells some funny moments from his dance career, including accidentally no-showing a performance, only to be covered by a friend who improvised his entire routine.
14:31: Skylar discusses the one thing from his dance career that makes him most proud.
16:00: Skylar gives more details around his “dance collective” that he’s organizing in southern California, in order to showcase international dancers for a broader audience.
19:24: Campbell discusses his favorite dance competitions and explains how he best prepares for them.
22:29: Campbell explains how he has found success and what’s left for him to accomplish.
24:07: Skylar spends some time discussing why dance is important in 2019, both for the audience and for the dancer.
Bullet List of Resources –
The National Ballet of Canada