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Interview with WBC 2019 Silver Medalist: Grace Koznarek

At the 2019 World Ballet Competition Finals, Grace Koznarek received the Silver Medal in the Pre-Professional Category. She recently shared everything from how she trained for the competition to her sight-seeing explorations. Enjoy our chat below!

Interview Posted: Thursday, January 23, 2020

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Pictured: Grace Koznarek

 

1. Tell us about your preparation for the competition. How often did you rehearse and have private lessons?
I started thinking about the solos I wanted to do a few months before the competition. I had private lessons with my coach, Jennifer Grapes, about once or twice a week, and sometimes I would work a bit on my own.

 

2. Did you rent or have your costumes made?
I rented all my costumes from my dance studio, Hinsdale Dance Academy. However, my blue costume for Talisman was originally created for someone who was 6 feet tall! So, my amazing mom completely redesigned the skirt and all of the intracate beading, so that it fit my 5'4" frame.

 

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Pictured: Grace Koznarek performing the Talisman Variation at the World Ballet Competition

 

3. Were you nervous before competing?
I always feel calm about competing right up until I stand in the wings, waiting for the girl before me to finish. That's when I get a giant pit in my stomach! Usually, I try not to look at whoever is dancing, and I also take very deep breaths. I also remind myself that I am going out onstage to perform, to be an artist, not to be perfect!

 

4. What do you think of the instantaenous scoring system and the online broadcast?
At first it made me nervous. But, I actually enjoyed the system! The highest and lowest scores are taken off, so that you get a score which is not affected by one high or low scoring judge.

 

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 Pictured: Grace Koznarek

 

5. What did you think of the Master Class Workshop and the daily warm up classes?
I loved the master classes and the teachers so much! I was in Orlando for a week, so I didn't have to worry about finding a studio to take class in or trying to give class to myself, because all I had to do was walk from my hotel to the convention center.

 

6. There are several competition rounds in the WBC, who chose the order of your solos for the competition?
My coach and I worked together on what order my variations should be performed in. We always try to have two of the variations be super contrasting, like Esmeralda and Talisman!

 

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Pictured: Grace Koznarek performing the Esmeralda Variation at the World Ballet Competition

 

7. What do you think separates WBC from other ballet competitions?
I loved all of the different rounds! I got so much time on stage, all in one week. I was really happy about this because the more time I get onstage, the more comfortable and confident I feel performing.

 

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Pictured: Grace Koznarek visits the Gaynor Minden booth at the World Ballet Competition

 

8. What advice would you give to upcoming competitors?
Don't be stressed. Everyone gives this advice, but it is so so true. When you are stressed out, your whole body is tense! When you do your solos at your home studio your muscles are relaxed because you feel comfortable and safe. You should try to feel the same way onstage! Otherwise you will dance stiffly, which does not create beauty and artistry.

 

9. Were you able to sight-see in Orlando?
After I finished competing, I got to go to Disneyworld for the very first time!!!

 

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Pictured: Grace Koznarek strikes a stunning pose at Walt Disney World

 

10. What have you been up to since competing at the WBC?
Since competing, I have accepted a scholarship to Staatliche Balletschule Berlin which is connected to Staats Ballet Berlin! Living in Germany is a crazy, new adventure, and it's an adventure that I am very blessed to be on!

 

Interested to compete in the World Ballet Competition?

Details on the 2020 Application can be found by clicking here

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Special thanks to Discount Dance Supply, sponsor of the 2020 World Ballet Competition. 

 

Discount Dance Supply is the biggest dancewear mega store offering brand dance and ballet shoes, dance clothing, recital costumes, dance tights.

 

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The venue for the World Ballet Competition 2020, Orange County Convention Center, is wheelchair accessible. For futher information on Assistance for Guests with disabilities, please click here.