Park City ballerina heads to world finals
McCallister “Callie” Mick is ready for her next jeté.
The Park City-based ballerina placed second in the classical group category for her renditions of “Giselle” and the “Medora” variation of “Le Corsaire” during the fifth World Ballet Art Competition Grand Prix semifinals on Sept. 23 in San Diego.
This weekend, she is set to compete in the finals in Niagara Falls, Canada.
Mick plans on repeating “Giselle,” but has decided to replace “Le Corsaire” with a variation on “Don Quixote.”“We had talked about doing ‘Don Quixote’ a little while ago,” said Natalia Chapourskaya-Lobachkova, Mick’s teacher and a former prima ballerina with the Perm Academic Opera and Ballet Theater and principal with the Mikhailovski Theatre in Russia. “We’ll do ‘Giselle’ in the morning and then (‘Don Quixote’)in the evening.”
The challenge of dancing “Don Quixote” is its pacing, Mick said. Even though the piece runs a little less than a minute and a half, there is movement every second.“I really don’t have time to breathe in that variation,” the dancer said with a giggle. “I know Natalia is nervous, but I’m looking forward to it. It’s easier for me to get into it because I like being sassy.”
Chapourskaya-Lobachkova said the energetic flow of “Don Quixote” better fits Mick’s personality than the regality of “Medora.”
“Callie has beautiful feet, which is important for the more Spanish-influenced dancing,” she said.
Although the two have been rehearsing for the finals, they are still giddy from the semis.
“It was a lot to take in, and I am grateful for all the support I had from Natalia and my family,” Mick said. “It was easier for me to dance (in San Diego than Park City) because of the altitude.”
Mick liked watching the other dancers, and she enjoyed taking a master class with the other competitors that week.
“I made some friends and dance buddies,” she said.
Before her semifinal performance, Mick tried to keep calm backstage.
“I kind of zoned out and tried not to listen to other people’s music,” she said. “I just thought about the choreography and how to interact with the judges and the audience.”
Mick performed “Giselle” during the first half of the evening, and returned to the stage 40 minutes later to dance “Medora.”
“That was difficult because she cooled down after the first dance, and we had to get her warmed up again,” Chapourskaya-Lobachkova said. “But she did very well.”
Mick did jumping jacks and some backstage jogging to keep her body warm, which was important to do because she had gotten sick during her stay in San Diego.
“I had to use a breathing machine with Vicks (medication) backstage,” she said. “My stamina was also not there, and I got very winded when I was warming up.”
In addition to Mick’s second-place finish, Chapourskaya-Lobachkova also won the award for Best Teacher.
That surprised Chapourskaya-Lobachkova because usually the award is given to the teacher of the first place dancers, who was a student of her friend, Marat Daukaev, a former Mariinsky Ballet dancer, she said.
“I was in the audience sitting with Callie’s mother when the awards were announced,” Chapourskaya-Lobachkova said. “I was so surprised.”
After the awards, Daukaev, who hadn’t seen Chapourskaya-Lobachkova for more than 30 years, gave Mick some tips to help tighten up her “Giselle” routine for the finals.
“It means so much that I going to the finals,” she said. “It’s funny; when I started working with Natalia, I told her I didn’t want to do any competitions, but I’m so glad I did this.”
Chapourskaya-Lobachkova is looking forward to taking Mick to the finals.
“She has learned a lot of different styles, and I showed them all to her because I once danced them,” she said. “I wanted to prepare her for joining a company. The goal isn’t for her to be an entry-level dancer. She is better than that.”
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