Sierra is very excited to be returning to the San Diego Ballet for her 3rd season! Sierra began dancing at age 3 at San Diego School of Ballet. Throughout her years at the school, she trained in many styles including ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, and modern. She has attended summer programs on scholarship including Houston Ballet, Ballet West, and Boston Ballet.
Sierra has competed in many dance competitions, including the American Dance Competition in St. Petersburg, Florida, where she placed in the top 25 for both her classical and contemporary solos for the senior division. At that same competition, Sierra was ranked in the top 20 for her technique. In 2018 she competed once again at the Youth American Grand Prix, placing 2nd in the senior classical division and qualifying and attending the YAGP New York finals. At the Spotlight Dance Comp, she received the Diamond cup for her classical solo Raymonda. That same year she competed at the California Dance Classics where she received 1st place for both classical and contemporary categories, and had the highest scores of the competition, receiving another scholarship to Ballet West.
Throughout her years as a student Sierra performed in numerous ballets as core de ballet, soloist and principal roles including Seven Beauties in partnership with the Azerbaijan Consulate, a Midsummer Night’s Dream, Carnival of the Animals, The Nutcracker, Coppelia (friend), Paquita (soloist), La Bayadere (Gamzatti), Swan Lake (Odile), and Les Sylphides (Principal), as well as performing contemporary choreography.
Who influenced you most to become the dancer you are today?
It would have to be Igor Yurlov, one of my main teachers, who still coaches and helps me today. He gave me so many of the tools I needed to become a dancer and gave me the support I never realized I needed as well. He taught me so much about the balance between artistry and technique which prior to training with him, was something I never really understood. He never gave up on me, even when I faced a terrible injury during a really important competition season.
What was the funniest episode(s) you’ve experienced in your career?
It has to be this one day when I was rehearsing the black swan Pas de duex for the annual student concert. It was towards the beginning of rehearsals and we were playing around with some alternatives to some of the lifts. My partner and I had decided to stay late to practice one of them, which was a arabesque toss into a fish. It pretty much consisted of me flipping in the air to change positions. Since it was pretty late and we were both tired we decided to film one last try and then call it a night. We got ready, I went into the lift, did the flip and something went wrong and my partner grabbed too low on my torso and I crashed to the grounded, with him holding just my legs. Best part, the entire thing was on video, in slow motion.
Who would you most like to share the stage with (living or dead)?
I would love to share the stage with any members of the New York City Ballet, their quality of movement it’s so unique to many dancers that I’ve seen. They so precise and quick with their movements and they just radiate joy whenever they dance and I would love to be able to learn how to move like that.
What goes through your mind just before you perform?
To breathe, and don’t forget to enjoy every minute of it. There is nothing like dancing on stage, and each moment of it is special. I think so many dancers (including me) take it for granted most of the time, so before I go on stage I like to just take a moment to breathe and remind myself how lucky I am to get to do this everyday!
What do you like/admire most about San Diego Ballet?
I love how San Diego Ballet, specifically Javier’s choreography combines ballet to other styles of dance like Latin and jazz. When I was younger I loved jazz and tap (I still take as many of those classes as I can now!), and what’s unique about this company how Javier can fuse all these different styles with ballet. It challenges you as an artist, and for me satisfies the little jazzerina in me! I also love being able to dance on stage with a live band. It’s such an incredible experience and something not many ballet companies do. Just being able to vibe off the energy of the band is such a fun thing!