Tara Williamson Campbell
- hometown: Richmond, British Columbia
- years as dancer: 14 years (student); 11 years (professional)
- favourite ballet/performance: Romeo and Juliet
- ballet school: The Richmond Academy of Dance
- dance companies: Alberta Ballet, Les Ballet Jazz de Montreal, and Ballet BC
I AM PLAYFUL. I AM LIGHT-HEARTED. I AM FOCUSED, DRIVEN AND ANALYTICAL. I NEVER SETTLE FOR MEDIOCRITY, ESPECIALLY IN DANCE.
FROM A VERY YOUNG AGE, I KNEW I WANTED TO BE A PROFESSIONAL BALLET DANCER. BALLET WAS MY EDUCATION. IT GAVE ME A MATURITY THAT I OTHERWISE NEVER WOULD HAVE DEVELOPED UNTIL LATER IN MY LIFE, AND THAT MATURITY ALLOWED ME TO FACE AND OVERCOME MANY CHALLENGES.
DANCE WAS ALSO AN ESCAPE FOR ME. THE STUDIO WAS A PLACE WHERE I WAS ALWAYS COMFORTABLE, AND WHERE I COULD GO TO LET THE WORRIES OF THE WORLD MELT AWAY AND BE THE BEST VERSION OF MYSELF. DANCE HAS ALSO GIVEN ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO CONNECT WITH AUDIENCES AROUND THE WORLD AND TOUCH THEM BY DOING SOMETHING THAT I LOVE.
Q: What is the greatest accomplishment of your professional dance career?
A: At the age of 22, I was cast as the lead in Romeo and Juliet. In addition to being the role of my dreams, it was also the one in which I surprised myself the most and truly experienced getting lost in the reality of a role. It was through this role that I reached maturity as an artist and a performer.
During one particular rehearsal, I allowed myself to be completely vulnerable and become Juliet herself, overcome with feelings of love and sacrifice. Once I finished the last movement in the ballet, everyone, including myself, was crying as a result of the raw emotional energy that filled the room. That moment is where I came to realize the power of my ability to perform in an honest, genuine and connected way. In the end, the performance is one that I will never forget.
Through dance, you learn to accept failure as a good thing; for it is not necessarily failure, but a step forward in recognizing what needs improvement - and in that process, you learn a great deal about yourself.
Q: What do you enjoy most about teaching ballet?
A: What I love is seeing my students experience the same excitement about dance that I had when I was training, because I can remember that rush and realizing how passionate you can be about something as a person. I can relate to how incredibly motivated, focused and in love with the idea of becoming professional dancers they are, and it makes me smile.
Q: What was the most challenging performance of your professional career (and how did you grow from this experience)?
A: I was cast as the lead in Cinderella, as part of the B-Cast for the ballet. I was very excited to portray Cinderella and set high expectations for myself. However, due to limited time to set the ballet, much of the rehearsal time was given to the A-Cast, so when I finally got the opportunity to do a run-through, I was not happy with my progress.
Instead of accepting the status quo, my partner and I accepted the situation and chose to take matters into our own hands, at which point it became an incredibly uplifting experience. We rehearsed on our own every day at lunch and did everything we could to be as prepared as the A-Cast and deliver a beautiful performance. We took a potentially negative situation and turned it into a growing experience that made us stronger and more well rounded ballet dancers.
Director of Contemporary