ERICA LALL: FROM CHILDHOOD INSPIRATION TO ABT

To kick off the launch of Ballet by Equinox x ABT, we spoke to American Ballet Theatre member Erica Lall about advice for aspiring ballerinas, the Black dancers who inspire her, and more. On an empowering role model… “I’ve looked up to Lauren Anderson, the first African American principal dancer with the Houston Ballet, since I first met her when I began my ballet training at Houston Ballet. I have fond memories of seeing her beautiful performance photos in the hallway of the ballet school. Although I never had the opportunity to see her perform live, seeing her in those photographs performing the leading roles was empowering and instilled in me the confidence to pursue the same career. Recently, more performance videos have been released of Lauren and I’m even more inspired after watching. She danced with such power, energy, grace, and delicacy that can be felt even through a phone screen.” On a lasting impression… “I briefly met Misty Copeland at a workshop when I was 14 [and] I instantly felt a strong connection. A year later I joined the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School on a full scholarship. Misty peeked into my class and recognized me. Over the years our bond has become unbreakable, and I’m so grateful that we have become sisters! Before coming to New York, I had not seen a Black ballet dancer in the spotlight. I’m grateful to have so many opportunities to watch Misty performing on stage, taking the spotlight with all her glory. It’s been surreal not only having side-by-side lockers, but also dancing side by side. I have seen her triumphs and felt her force. I have seen her focus, drive, and her determination to be the best she can be, both on stage and off. I am grateful to have been able to grow alongside her for all these years and feel her continuous support.” On the many Black dancers who inspire her… “I have such a rich appreciation of Black dancers from all over that I can’t choose just one: Arthur Mitchell, Raven Wilkinson, Carmen de Lavallade, Virginia Johnson, and Alvin Ailey, just to name a few [more]. Additionally, it is such a gift to watch the forever inspiring Alvin Ailey company dancers and Broadway casts perform here in New York!” On her advice for aspiring dancers… “My top piece of advice for aspiring dancers is make sure to balance your time between dance with other activities. Dancers tend to spend most of their lives around dance, but all the other things enrich our souls and, in turn, enrich our dancing.” On what Black History Month means to her… “Black History Month is a time to celebrate the beauty of who we are and celebrate those who broke down barriers before us. It is also a time to dive deeper into the history of Black Americans and what we’ve experienced in the past and present.” TAKE BALLET BY EQUINOX X ABT Whether a novice or seasoned dancer, this classical ballet experience will challenge your endurance, strength, balance, memory, coordination, and artistry.