Prodigy

Sheena Annalise

Ballerina & Artistic Director of Arch Contemporary BalletNew York City, NYPhotography by Andrea PosadasStory by Andrea Posadas

Our shoot happened in New York City on one of the coldest days of the year, but Sheena Annalise not only showed bravery in her tiny tutu but kept an optimistic mind and smile throughout the ice-covered morning. Sheena’s personality and dance moves exude an artistic grace and power that directly translate to how she takes on life and her business. At the age of 22, Sheena has accomplished more than most of us would hope to.

 

My name is Sheena Annalise, and I am the Artistic Director and Founder of Arch Contemporary Ballet in New York City. I founded Arch Contemporary Ballet in May of 2013 and we have quickly paved our path to become a leading emerging contemporary ballet company.

Arch Contemporary Ballet is continuously noted for “pointe work that is not often seen with two women in pointe shoes…” (Dancepanorama.com) . ACB is an all female cast company that brings dynamic partner work, dexterity, and innovation to each performance.

We are constantly evolving with new concepts, collaborations, and innovative movement, but one thing that always remains the same is our dedication to our artistic process and the dedication to our growing success.

All of my choreography is completely set in silence on our dancers. After the piece is finished in silence, we bring in high caliber composers to create an original music score to accentuate the movement. This innovation has led us gratefully to be featured in multiple publications nationwide.

I’ve always known that I wanted my own dance company. It wasn’t completely apparent to me at a young age, but my mother surely knew. In first grade, I made my best friend choreograph a dance with me to 90’s sensation B*Witched and in third grade I created a dance with four of my classmates to TLC. At that time, I had my heart set on being the first lady president, so I didn’t get serious about dance or even dance class until right before high school. Luckily I flourished in my high school’s performing arts department under the direction of Kellye Dodd and Cristina McClelland, and I was given amazing opportunities to choreograph on our pre-professional student company at an early age. I received opportunities to dance with Wayne McGregor & his Random Dance Company’s Equator Project, Jose Limon’s The Winged with SJ Dance Co, and endless more opportunities. From those moments, I knew choreography was my calling.

 

My biggest source of inspiration is my vision for Arch Contemporary Ballet.  I thoroughly believe in self motivation and inspiring yourself to achieve your goals. The key is to know what you want, and pave a path to get there. One day at a time, piece by piece, anything can be built. Creatively my inspiration constantly changes. I usually have a vision or idea of what I want to portray in a ballet, and from there my dancers fuel my inspiration. Each of my dancers exudes grace, power, and artistry and are the driving force behind my movement. I may have a set vision of a movement or lift coming into a rehearsal, and it is completely transformed into something entirely different before we leave.

 

“In a harmonious, glorious, and rollercoaster way, my work and social life intertwine like vintage Chanel tweed.” 

 

I consider my work life my social life as well. When your company is your passion, you become passionate and compassionate for everyone involved.  Arch Contemporary Ballet’s dancers, supporters, and fans have become my work, friends, and family overtime.  And my relationships and friendships that haven’t come from ACB become involved with ACB just the same.

 

Arch Contemporary Ballet runs through my blood, and keeps my heart pumping. I can’t turn that off, and that’s a factor that I believe has led to our continued success thus far. 

My biggest piece of advice would be take things as you go and roll with the punches.  You will be faced with disappointment, but you will also be faced with success that makes it all worthwhile. It is how you rise from these occasions, whether it is a success or a disappointment that shows your true self. Remember not only who you are in this moment but who you are striving to be tomorrow, so you can work towards being that person today.

Besides creating new work, my second love is dining out. I just love going out to brunch, lunch, or dinner. But who am I kidding, mostly dinner! Trendy fine dining restaurants are my guilty pleasure. As a choreographer by day and a fashionista by night, I love to dress up.

I just feel at home surrounded by great food, lush décor, and the perfect dress. My idea of a “night out on the town” is spending my entire night at a new, trendy, and buzzing restaurant. Jean George’s countless restaurants are always a go to.

I have received praise from many individuals who have seen me grow ACB to where it is today, to people who I newly encounter. I am so grateful for all of the kind words that have been said about ACB and my accomplishments thus far, but I am always sure to let them know we aren’t there yet. I believe with every satin thread in my pointe shoes that this is only the stepping stone to where we will be in the future. There are so many accomplishments to put under our belt, and we will get there with their continued support.

 

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