We are awed and inspired by the energy and enthusiasm of this very special ballerina.
She enjoys the challenging process of hard work to get results and doesn't give up. She finds time to be a dedicated student, become fluent in Russian, founded a dance service organization to help dancers with financial needs, represent Brown Girls Do Ballet, take all her ballet and dance classes and perform with three companies!
Where were you born? Where do you live now?
I was born in Teaneck, NJ but I grew up in Baltimore, MD.
Do you have brothers and/or sisters? And if so how many?
I have 4 brothers and 3 sisters.
Where do you go to school and what is your favorite subject?
I go to George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology in Towson, MD.
My favorite subject is Geometry and Foreign Languages. I have studied Russian for 7 years and am currently enrolled in French at school.
Brown Girls Do Ballet®, a philanthropic organization often featured for its noteworthy Instagram movement, began in 2013 as a personal photography project by TaKiyah Wallace in an effort to highlight girls of Hispanic, African, Asian, East Indian, and Native American ancestry in Ballet programs. Brown Girls Do Ballet provides opportunities for training scholarships and mentorship. My mentors are Ingrid Silva and Daphne Lee.
Are you involved in any service organizations and if so why?
I founded an organization called Dance Dreams of MD that seeks resources, scholarships, and training programs for talented dancers that have financial need. My family has made many sacrifices to support my dance dream and I really just want to help other dancers and their families as much as I can. I just believe that anyone who has a dream should not be limited because of not having enough money to make their dreams a reality. I also am a 2018 ambassador for Brown Girls Do Ballet.
Photo by @afatherslens
Photo courtesy of @naara.nguvu
What is a typical day like for you?
I attend a performing arts high school and my day starts at 5 a.m. I stretch in the morning and then get dressed for school to make it to my bus at 6:30 a.m. The bell rings at school at 7:45 a.m. I typically have a half day of academics and the other half dance (modern/ballet) but I had class in labanotation which is a symbol system for writing down movements in dance and now I'm in composition.
Photo by @vsdavisphotography
After school, I have ballet class and I dance in 3 companies. I do homework on the bus or in the car on the way to rehearsal. One student company at my school Inertia, another at a local university – Morgan State University Modern Dance Ensemble, and Eleone Dance Theater in Philadelphia. Every day except Monday I have rehearsal until 8 or 9 at night. I finish homework before going to bed around 10 or 11 p.m. and usually just eat while traveling to and from rehearsals. I am busy all of the time.
George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology Class of 2020
When did you start your ballet training and why?
I started dancing when I was two years old and took ballet class since this age. I just fell in love with the Angelina Ballerina cartoon and knew that I wanted to be a ballerina. I grew up in a dance school that was diverse and consisted of all styles of dance. However, I did not enter a full ballet conservatory until I was 13, as a full scholarship recipient. I knew that this level of technical training was needed for me to become a professional dancer. This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
Sage Sarai - Age 5!
What is the name of your studio and what ballet method/style do they teach?
Ballet Nouveau Conservatory in Baltimore, MD under the direction of Kristen Stevenson. We train in Cecchetti style ballet as well as contemporary and jazz.
IABD Masterclass with Dance Theater of Harlem
Who is your favorite teacher or teachers and why?
My favorite teachers: Algernon Campbell of Morton Street Dance Center and Elana Anderson formerly of Morton Street Dance Center and Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, Karen McDonald and Madame Giana Jigarhan of Debbie Allen Dance Academy, Robert Garland and Rachel Sekyi of Dance Theatre of Harlem, and Kristen Stevenson of Ballet Nouveau.
Why do you love ballet?
I love ballet because it is so graceful but extremely challenging. I love when I have to work hard to accomplish my goals in ballet.
Photo by @afatherslens
Who is your favorite ballerina and why?
My favorite ballerinas right now are Ingrid Silva and Daphne Lee with Dance Theatre of Harlem, Precious Adams of the English National Ballet and of course Misty Copeland from ABT. If we were talking about of all time, then I’d say Lauren Anderson. This is really hard cause I love them all. I can go on and on, Nardia Badoo (our Baltimore ballerina) ……
What is your favorite ballet and why?
I’d say my favorite ballet is Swan Lake – maybe because it’s the first one I went to see live in person …. It was the Bolshoi’s Swan Lake, I was mesmerized. I hope one day I can go to the Bolshoi in person. I speak Russian so I am hoping to study there some time in the future.
What is your dream role?
My dream would be the Black Swan from Swan Lake and I also would love to be in Lion King on Broadway!
What other dance styles do you love and why?
I really love all dance styles. I am a movement performer. I love ballroom, flamenco, modern, African, jazz, and now even hip hop. I really think my best quality as a dancer is how well-rounded I am.
Photo by @ohmyjoyy Photography
Do you have favorite choreographer(s) you’ve worked with?
My favorite choreographers I have worked with on performance pieces are Allyne Gartrell and Kareem B. Goodwin. However, my favorite choreographer list is long: Jennifer Archibald, Ryan Johnson, Darrell Moultrie, Camille A. Brown and Anthony Burrell.
Will you be attending any summer programs this year? If yes, where?
I have been accepted to Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, Dissonance Dance Theater, and ArchCore 40 this summer.
What do you love to do in your free time when you are not dancing?
In my free time, I like to learn different languages. I have studied Russian for 7 years and am currently taking French classes. I think I may be a photographer at heart, I love taking pictures of landscapes also.
What are your hopes and goals for your future with ballet?
I hope to one day dance with a professional company as well as earn my MFA in performance, choreography, and teaching. I envision a diverse and colorful world of ballet. I want to be a part of making this new world of ballet a reality. After my dance career, I want to become a physical therapist for dancers and athletes as well as own my own performing arts training center. I will create spaces for ballerinas just like me.
Photo by @vsdavisphotography
Photo by @nouveau.photography