A guide on everything a dance major does in a day: with Ana Brooks
On stage, ballet dancers gracefully glide with ease beneath the lights. But what does it take for a dancer to reach this level of artistry? We interviewed dance major Ana Brooks to find out what a day in her shoes looks like.
Name: Ana Brooks (/ǎːna/ – “Awnah”)
Major: Dance BFA
Emphasis: Ballet with some contemporary
Expected graduation: August 2022
Q: As a dancer, what time do you wake up on a typical morning?
A: Usually I get up around 7 am and I’m out the door by 7:30 because class starts at 8.
Q: Do you usually have breakfast in the morning or are you just out the door?
A: I usually meal-prep breakfast, but it varies on how much I’ve prepared. Sometimes it’s just a granola bar morning. Other times I can make egg muffins, but it changes week to week.
Q: What’s your first class of the day?
A: Ballet Technique. It’s usually an hour and a half to two hours. After Technique, there is rehearsal until about noon.
Q: Do you do anything to prepare for the first class of the day?
A: I’ll try to do a little bit of warming up, some conditioning and stretching.
Q: Do you prefer ballet or contemporary?
A: Ballet is my first love. I really value ballet as the foundation of my technique. But I came to BYU’s dance program specifically because I could have the best of both worlds. I don’t prefer one over the other, I love them both for different reasons.
Q: What’s after Ballet Technique and rehearsal?
A: I have dance major classes this semester. I go straight from rehearsal to Music for Dancers and then to Advanced Choreography and then after that, I have an hour and a half of Contemporary Technique.
Q: When do you usually have lunch?
A: Usually once my class block is done, but I like to have snacks in between.
Q: What do you usually snack on?
A: Whatever I can get my hands on. Lots of trail mix, applesauce, things I can easily take with me on the go.
Q: Do you choreograph on Ballet Showcase?
Q: Do you think every dancer can choreograph or do you think there’s a specific skill set for dancers who choreograph?
A: I think there’s a common misconception, especially among ballet dancers. In a lot of intense schools growing up, sometimes your teachers or the institution you’re at will put forth the notion that you’re the dancer and you have to do as they say. So a lot of ballet dancers think they can’t choreograph, but really, anybody can choreograph.
Q: What is homework like as a dance major?
A: It varies a lot by class. For a lot of my choreography classes, for example, I’ll be expected to come to class with a minute or two of choreography prepared. There can also be a lot of writing, actually.
Q: What time do you usually go to bed?
A: I usually try to be in bed asleep by 10:30.
Q: Have you always been an early-to-bed, early riser type of person?
A: No, I was not an early bed person for a long time. It’s nicer because I don’t have things in the evenings anymore in comparison to the last few months. I usually get home at 3 and start homework ASAP so that I can be in bed by that time. I noticed that I get injured a lot more easily and I fatigue a lot [more quickly] if I’m not getting a lot of sleep.
After graduation, Brooks hopes to dance for a few years with a ballet company. She is currently preparing for the 2022 season auditions. After her dancing years come to a close, Brooks has entertained the thought of grad school for genetic counseling.