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5 things I’d tell my teenage self 

Joseph Gatti in 'Swan Lake', wearing Só Dança BA26 Split Sole Canvas Ballet Shoes. Photo by Carlos Quezada.
Joseph Gatti in 'Swan Lake', wearing Só Dança BA26 Split Sole Canvas Ballet Shoes. Photo by Carlos Quezada.

What would you do if you could go back in time? Would you choose something different for breakfast? Would you set aside a few minutes for meditation before a performance? Or would you go back and tell your younger self some sage advice in the hopes of bettering their experience and journey to a successful dance career? 

We spoke with three professional dancers and Só Dança ambassadors, Joseph Gatti, Sasha De Sola and Jonathan Batista, about what they’d tell their teenage self if they had the chance. They also share some qualities that they think have helped them succeed in their dance career. Read on to find out more! 

Joseph Gatti. Photo by Michelle Revels.
Joseph Gatti. Photo by Michelle Revels.

Five things I’d tell my teenage self

#1. “Eat healthier.” – Joseph Gatti, international principal guest artist and artistic director/founder of United Ballet Theatre and Academy (Orlando, FL)

#2. “This career is a gift. Don’t take even one moment for granted, through the good times and through the difficult times. It will push you to grow, it will give you solace, inspiration, and strength.” – Sasha De Sola, principal dancer with San Francisco Ballet 

#3. “Make sure to be yourself, allow yourself to make mistakes, fail and improve from there, take your time and be open to welcome new possibilities.” – Jonathan Batista, soloist with Pacific Northwest Ballet 

Jonathan Batista in George Balanchine's 'The Nutcracker'. Photo by Angela Sterling.
Jonathan Batista in George Balanchine’s ‘The Nutcracker’. Photo by Angela Sterling.

#4. “Roll out more after the day of work.” – Joseph Gatti 

#5. “Discipline is key, and time will guide you to where you want or need to be. Meanwhile, enjoy the process. You’ll find beautiful moments to be grateful for, especially during challenging times.” – Jonathan Batista 

What are three to five words or qualities that you think have helped you succeed so far in your dance career?

Jonathan Batista

“Gratitude, ‘You can do this,’ deep breath, ‘Thank you,’ and inspiration.” 

Sasha De Sola

Sasha De Sola. Photo by Karolina Kuras.
Sasha De Sola. Photo by Karolina Kuras.

“There are a few qualities that I think have helped me in my career as a dancer so far. I think first and foremost is perseverance. This allows you to continue on your path, regardless of the inevitable bumps in the road you might face. That being said, perseverance alone is not enough. It is important to have a strong work ethic, a deep love and passion for what you do and, lastly, integrity, both as an artist and as a human being. People may sometimes remember a performance, but more often than not they will remember how you treated them and how you made them feel.”

Joseph Gatti 

“Attentiveness, passion, poise, determination and coordination.”

What are some of your favorite Só Dança products that you wish you had as a young dancer growing up?

Joseph Gatti in George Balanchine's 'Who Cares?' Photo by Steve Caras.
Joseph Gatti in George Balanchine’s ‘Who Cares?’ Photo by Steve Caras.


“Without a doubt, the BA26 split sole Canvas Ballet Shoes. I love the elastic material in the arch and the material and width overall. You have no idea how stressful I was constantly changing shoes and not finding the right fit and grip! I love the Só Dança Booties, especially during The Nutcracker season keeping not only my toes but Achilles tendon and lower calf warm. The Adult Stretch Canvas Split Sole Jazz Shoes. I wore them while performing Who Cares, and they fit like a glove! And also all the tank tops in the Athletic Wear Department!”


Jonathan Batista in George Balanchine's 'The Four Temperaments'. Photo by Jana Carson.
Jonathan Batista in George Balanchine’s ‘The Four Temperaments’. Photo by Jana Carson.

“I am a huge fan of Só Dança’s products, and these are the products I wish I has as a young dancer growing up: my skin tone (Mocha) SD16 Stretch Canvas Ballet Shoes (my number one item!), the Harry Backpack (I love how many pockets it comes with!), Jacob Tights (The comfortability and texture is just unbelievably great.) and the Men’s Tank Top (These are great for rehearsals, they are comfortable and fit like a perfect pair of gloves!).”

De Sola

Sasha De Sola. Photo by Erik Tomasson.
Sasha De Sola. Photo by Erik Tomasson.

“The Elektra Tech Pointe Shoe! As we all know, pointe shoes are very expensive, and it was a strain on my family to have to consistently be providing me with a new pair of shoes. I would have loved to have the possibility to wear Elektras because they don’t break down easily and are so readily customizable to your needs based on your repertoire. If I were to need a harder or softer shank, it is as simple as switching it out and dancing!”

To shop these dancers’ favorite Só Dança products and more, visit www.sodanca.com

By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa.

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