Nov 3, 2020
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra speaks with Mollie Sansone, an award-winning veteran dancer, teacher, and choreographer who is currently embarking on her seventeenth season dancing with the Nashville Ballet. Over these 17 seasons, Mollie has performed primarily under the direction of Paul Vasterling and has been featured in several notable roles such as Lizzie Borden, Lady Macbeth, and Juliet of Romeo and Juliet. While she’s not on the stage, Mollie enjoys teaching and choreographing for various dance studios across Nashville.
Mollie’s journey into dance success hasn’t been an easy one, as she’s constantly had to fight against the fact that her body doesn’t fit the stereotypical ballet dancer mold. However, over the years, Mollie has learned to turn these perceived weaknesses into strengths. On the podcast, Sansone encourages fellow dancers — both young and old — to embrace the things that make you ‘you’ and leverage your unique attributes as ways to set yourself apart from the crowd.
“There’s only one ‘you' in the entire universe. If you’re not ‘you,’ the universe would suffer without that person. If you’re trying to be something or someone that’s not you, you’re trying to offset the natural flow of life."
“You always have to work hard, no matter what. Even if you are blessed with a body that is very gifted and easy to work with, there’s always something more you can do."
“What helps you sustain in this career is to constantly reinvent yourself. Because there are so many facets of the dance world... If you consider yourself a student of life or a student of the art form, you can persevere in it."
“I just love the research of a character — really digging into character development. How can I, as Mollie, make this role unique? What am I going to bring to that role?"
[On character-based roles] "To step into someone else’s life is a very extraordinary experience to have. It gives you a sense of empathy towards other experiences in life."
“If you’re auditioning, I would really advise to stay in connection with the director in a very productive way. Obviously, you don’t want to hound them. But the more communication you have within the company you want to be with, the better."
“Wear something [to auditions] that you’re most comfortable in and makes you stand out. Also, laugh and be comfortable, regardless of the nerves. We’re human, and we sometimes make mistakes. That will show part of your personality and your character — how you handle setbacks."
Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:
3:38: Mollie explains why she initially chose the Nashville Ballet and what has caused her to stay for seventeen seasons.
6:46: Mollie describes the feeling of dancing at the top of her career, with nothing more to prove.
8:54: Sansone, who has struggled with her “not ideal for ballet” body type, discusses how she’s spent her life successfully turning this limitation into a strength.
10:53: Mollie reflects on some of her favorite roles and shares the joys of taking on character-based roles.
12:25: Sansone, as a veteran dancer, discusses the importance of networking and shares some key tips while auditioning.
15:16: Sansone explains how she’s been somewhat organically preparing herself for the next stage of her career.
20:28: Mollie discusses her biggest career roadblock and reflects on the importance of continually reinventing yourself.
23:45: Mollie shares some expert tips on auditioning well.
26:06: Sansone explains the importance of embracing what makes you unique and turning even your perceived weaknesses into strengths.
27:52: Mollie, who has lived an extremely accomplished career, discusses what’s next for her in the Nashville Ballet and beyond.
Bullet List of Resources –