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Interview with WBC 2017 Gold Medalist: Sophie Miklosovic

At the 2017 World Ballet Competition Finals, Sophie Miklosovic was a stand-out competitor whom received the Gold Medal in the Professional Category. She recently shared with us how she trained for the event and her mindset for competing, enjoy our chat below!

Interview Posted: Sunday, February 11, 2018

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Pictured: Sophie Miklosovic

Tell us about your preparation for the competition. How often did you rehearse and have private lessons?

Sophie: We started WBC preparation after Nutcracker. I took my regular daily schedule 2 technique and 2 pointe class/variation classes most days, at The Art of Classical Ballet. I ran a WBC solo or my Pas De Deux most days a few times after morning tech & pointe when my body was centered and warm. Sometimes if we missed our morning rehearsal we would run after our evening classes. We do a little every day, as a group and rotate dancers and variations. We don’t rush things or over do rehearsing that way. I prefer this as I get to watch others prepare and I learn from their corrections too and we encourage each other. As I had a new Pdd partner we did do some extra sessions to get us prepared!! Also, I greatly benefitted by getting advice from all the Principals and professional dancers that constantly pop in to train with our Director, Magaly Suarez. Seriously, these professionals (former Magaly students) are so generous to help and I got amazing advice from them. Taking class & getting rehearsal pointers from Adiarys Almeida, Taras Domitro, Ana Sophia Scheller to name a few is a young dancers dream. I also got to work with Mr. Bruce Marks, who judged for another event I won, and he generously came in to see Magaly and work with me several weeks as well.

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Sophie practices her variations with Adiarys Almeida and Taras Domitro watching

Did you rent or have your costumes made?

Sophie: My Mom made my Kitri tutu and it was her first and I loved it!! My contemporary costume was designed/made by Tara Mitton Catao who worked my contemporary solo which was choreographed by Mark Godden. They had a very specific costume plan and well it worked as Mark and Tara won the WBC choreography award. For my other variations I wore one costume I had from the past and one from my Director’s stash.

Were you nervous before competing?

Sophie: I was more excited then nervous as usual. I was prepared, the work was done in class & rehearsals so you just got to trust that. My job at that point is to tell a story, make the audience feel something. So I always want to get into character and lose myself in my music and the story. There is nothing better than feeling free and becoming that character onstage. It’s my reward and what I love most so I just trust my preparation and get out of my head and enjoy the onstage opportunity. This has always been my thought process since I did my first solo at age 5.  I’m not there to compete for an award ... I am there to perform. Make the audience feel something. It makes me happy and I always dance best when I pretend to be that character or tell that story and I give a good performance for the audience.

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Sophie performing at the 2017 World Ballet Competition, Photo by Virginia Trudeau

What do you think of the instantaenous scoring system and the online broadcast?

Sophie: I LOVED IT!! Because first impressions are truest and honest feedback good or bad is most valuable if I’m to improve. Also, as an audience member the transparency is great and let’s you learn what these judges are looking for!

What did you think of the Master Class Workshop and the daily warm up classes?

Sophie: As I was sick during the week and nursing a injury, I had to modify my warm ups & class and do cryrotonics as maintenance so I unfortunately only attended the last day of warm up classes. I do think that having daily class is a GREAT feature of WBC though, anytime you can take class from knowledgeable judges or master teachers it’s a win!

There are several competition rounds in the WBC, who chose the order of your solos for the competition?
Sophie: My coach and I discussed the order and were in agreement. I think I led off with Giselle as I had performed it before.

Do you think the individual onstage rehearsal before each round benefited your performances?

Sophie: Yes, definitely! Feeling the stage space, the floor and lighting is very valuable. It eliminated surprises and allowed me to make some needed adjustment and feel more comfortable. A few less surprises are always a good thing!!

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Sophie and her coach, Magaly Suarez

What do you think separates WBC from other ballet competitions?

Sophie: The instant scoring for sure, it feels fair and you get each judge's first impressions. I also REALLY appreciate the MEDAL standards - you may be awarded 1st Place but it might be a Bronze or Silver medal performance. I REALLY like the WBC standards because it gives you a clearer understanding of how you danced against a standard not just the dancers who happened to be at that event. It’s not about winning 1st Place; my goal was to dance well enough to earn a GOLD medal. If I perform well then I’ve done my job regardless of the final 1st, 2nd or 3rd placement.

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Sophie poses with her Gold Medal at the 2017 World Ballet Competition

Were you able to sight-see in Orlando? 

Sophie: No, I was doing a lot of resting and injury maintenance that week as I was performing as both a senior soloist and with a Pas de Deux, and well we have to make choices. I wanted to give solid performances so I tried to stay off my feet when possible. 

Orlando is a great place for sightseeing and everything was so close — if I didn’t have to go right back to training it would have been a great city to vacation in!!

What advice would you give to upcoming competitors?

Sophie: For me, I LOVE the preparation and try to think of a competition as a PERFORMANCE opportunity and think wow look at the variations I get to work on and perform! So I love doing the prep work everyday in class, so my technique is there for me when I step on stage. Think of WBC as a performance opportunity, enjoy meeting and watching other dancers and then enjoy every second on stage. Sometimes you win ... but you can always LEARN.

What have you been up to since competing at the WBC?

Sophie: After WBC I attended The Art of Classical Ballet's Summer Intensive and prepared another new classical variation & new contemporary for the China IBC I was invited to attend in Beiijing in August. THEN I had the best surprise EVER!! Two days before before China, Edward Liang called my teacher and offered me a contract with BalletMet!! As I was in a boot 5 weeks during audition season and missed out I was super surprised. Mr. Liang had visited Magaly to set a piece on our resident Principals, he watched classes and rehearsals I guess! Also, as a Gaynor Girl and Zarely Rising Star, I had to post videos and well I think that helped too!! So I signed on for their 2017-2018 Season the day before I flew to Beijing! 

I am THRILLED with all my learnings this fall and the opportunities I’ve been given this season already at Ballet Met!! I must admit, dancing their Clara role was most rewarding and a dream come true as she dances with each diversement and does the Snow Pas de Deux and the Flowers Lead/Pas with the Nutcracker Prince.

Opening night for Giselle is February 9th and I am THRILLED to dance as the soloist in the Peasant Pas de Quatre AND to portray Zulma a Wilies soloist role!!

I am growing as an artist everyday, improving, living my dream, and I could not be happier. Thank you, Magaly Suarez, for the amazing training and all the doors you opened for me.

Interested to compete in the World Ballet Competition?

Details on the 2018 Application can be found by clicking here

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Special thanks to Discount Dance Supply, sponsor of the World Ballet Competition's 2018 Live Broadcast. 

 

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The venue for the World Ballet Competition 2018, Bob Carr Theater, is wheelchair accessible. For futher information on Assistance for Guests with disabilities, please click here.