Harrison Ball, Casting Room no. 32


photography by STEFANI PAPPAS

Where is home?

In a more literal sense- the theater. It’s my legal address and on my drivers’ license. But home has had to exist in my mind. I left my family to pursue dance at a very young age. To protect my heart I have had to create a foundation and a safe place within. It’s hard to access it, but when I do I know I am there.

What is your favorite thing to do in your home city?

I grew up in several places so there isn’t really a home by definition. I have been in New York longer than anywhere I have lived. I don’t have a particular thing here that I love more than another. It’s easier for me to tell you what my least favorite thing to do in New York is – going out to a club. 

How long have you been dancing?

Since I could stand. 

What is your favorite meal?

Any meal with a view.

What sound of noise do you love?

The sound of a theater a half hour before the curtain goes up. It’s a mixture of silence, pointe shoes, voices, instruments tuning, bells indicating that the audience should be seated, and dancers and crew preparing for a 2 hour journey.

Where would you like most to live?

Paris, but I love New York. 

Who are your inspirations?

Artistically – Nijinsky / In life – my family and my friends

What is your present state of mind?

Shut down. This usually happens whenever I am about to perform. Curtain goes up in 3 hours.

What makes you laugh the most?

Inside jokes

How have you developed your career?

Working hard on my craft, but working harder on myself. The hardest work is outside of the studio and off the stage. If one cannot confront themselves honestly and head on, there is no growth. The meaning behind everything gets lost. 

How do you work?

Relentlessly. I savor the process. I do not count music when I dance so it is important for me to become overly familiar with music in the same way an actor has to memorize his or her lines to the point where they no longer have to think. My process is a meditation. Sometimes it goes the way I like, most of the time it doesn’t. I have been in a ballet studio since I was 4, I have a lot of patience when it comes to my practice. 

What is your daily schedule? 

10.30 ballet class. Everyday. 6 days a week. Sometimes 7 if I don’t want my body to loose its momentum. Class is not a warm-up for me, it is a necessary ritual, like brushing my teeth only in this case it is my technique that is being cleaned. After class, I usually rehearse the entire day until the performance in the evening. On heavy days, it is a 12 hour work day. If I come across a lighter workload during a season I spend my down time working on cultivating other skills, researching, spending time with friends, doing laundry (always so much to do, I sweat a lot!), sleeping, and organizing my life that can quickly become chaotic. It is a constant struggle to balance personal life and work life. I enjoy the challenge. I constantly feel like giving up but it’s when I push through that barrier I make the biggest strides.

Photography: Stefani Pappas
Grooming: Naomi Endo using Oribe
Ballet Dancer: Harrison Ball@ New York City Ballet