Sharmaine PereaSharmaine grew up in Denver, Colorado, and began her ballet training at the Arvada Center Dance Theatre, under the direction of Christina Noel-Adcock. At 14, she became a Senior Company member with the Arvada Center Civic Ballet Company, where she performed Soloist and Principal roles in ballets such as Carmina Burana, The Red Shoes, Alice in Wonderland, and the Wizard of Oz, among others. After high school Sharmaine decided to further her dance training by attended the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. There, she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ballet and Modern Dance Performance. While at UMKC, she had many performance opportunities, including classical works, such as Paquita, Balanchine’s Serenade, and Salvatore Aiello’s Afternoon of a Faun, as well as original ballets by guest artist Gary Abbott and UMKC faculty; DeAnna Hiett, Mary-Pat Henry, Ronald Tice, and Sabrina Madison-Cannon. Sharmaine began her professional career with San Diego Ballet and has had the privilege of performing Soloist roles, as the Khwarazmian Beauty in the premier of the Azerbaijan ballet, The Seven Beauties and the Crocodile in Carnival of the Animals.

Who influenced you most to become the dancer you are today?

My Mom has always been my main support system throughout my dance career. She has driven many miles to and from dance classes, volunteered many hours of costuming, sat through every dance performance, supported my pursuit of dance as a college major, and encouraged me to continue dancing as long as it was still my passion. If it was not for her and her hard work to keep my dreams going, I would not be where I am today!

What was the funniest episode you’ve experienced in your career?

I was performing the role of the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz and there was a scene where I was supposed to ride an antique bicycle across the stage through a tunnel of dancers. Between the rusted bicycle and ominous storm lighting I lost control and nearly rode off of the stage. As I turned the bike to make a quick exit off stage, my dress got caught around the pedal and I ran straight into the curtain. Luckily the back stage crew was able to help me get untangled and out of audience view. It was embarrassing at the time, but it still gives me a good laugh.

Who would you most like to share the stage with (living or dead)?

Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing because I’ve always wanted to try that lift! Or, I would love to share the stage with Nederlands Dans Theatre. Not only am I captivated by the precise fluidity in their movement, but when I watch them perform, their energy is purely mesmerizing and inspiring. If I can feel that enthralled as an audience member, it would be a dream to experience dancing alongside them first hand.

What goes through your mind just before you perform?

When I’m in the dressing room, I’m checking my costume, checking props, going over counts and notes, double checking my ribbons are secure, but as soon as I walk up to the side of the stage, I think of all of my family and friends in the audience that came out to support me and my love of dance. Then I just take a deep breath and experience being in the moment doing what I love.

What do you like/admire most about San Diego Ballet?

I appreciate how diverse San Diego Ballet is in its repertoire and in its dancers. Everyone has different strengths and Javier Velasco does a wonderful job at showcasing everyone’s talents and technical qualities throughout his choreography. They are also very supportive of their dancers. I am an avid seamstress, working on starting my own dancewear business. I was beyond excited to be given the opportunity to design and create the costumes for each of the seven beauties during the 2014/2015 SDB season for the premier of the Azerbaijan Ballet, The Seven Beauties.