Nicole Ward moved to Vancouver as a child and eventually trained at and graduated from Arts Umbrella. This budding ballerina’s career has already seen her performing in works by esteemed choreographers, including dancing alongside sixty dancers in Crystal Pite’s work Singularity in 2014.
The Dance Current asked her about her career and artistic development.
What about dance interests you most?
Being completely immersed, every day, not only in the full body experiences of rigour, exactitude and difficult technique but also in individual artistry, has kept me more than interested from a very young age. Not only am I drawn to the physical nature of this art form but also to what can be said with it both on a day-to-day basis and on a grander scale. Dance is a very instinctual way of communicating and I feel so fortunate to be able to express myself through a language that can be understood by so many different audiences.
You’ve worked with an incredible list of choreographers. What has been the best piece of advice or learning experience you’ve had in your career thus far?
It’s hard to pinpoint a single piece of advice because who I am today is a culmination of so many important and special individual moments and experiences. But a couple of things have resonated with me, and come up more often than others in my daily practice. I once had a very generous and articulate mentor talk about connecting to pleasure as opposed to ambition. I have held on to because it reminds me of how important it is to stay attuned to feelings and to trust my own instincts, as I do tend become driven by intellectual impulses.
What or who inspires you?
I find great inspiration in the studio. I am very fortunate to be a part of a collective of very unique, individual and artistic voices at Ballet BC. Nothing about our work environment is ever dull and, I believe, that is because of the immense curiosity that lives in our daily practice.
I also find great inspiration in music; the layers, textures and emotions are only a few things music can give.
Outside the studio, I am very inspired by my younger sister, Alanna. She is a great source of inspiration because she gets up at four in the morning every day to go out on a freezing cold lake to row with seven other hard working women. She has shown me that with commitment, practice and determination whatever you put your mind to can and will be done.
What has been your biggest challenge (in the world of dance)?
My biggest challenge has been discovering and trusting my voice as an artist. Really staying true to what I want to say, how I want to say it and not letting my brain or thoughts pull me away from allowing myself to feel and share. Dance has to be more than just beautiful movement – it’s that battle of relaying ideas in new and innovative ways, that is a challenge but also what’s so enticing.
Where do you see your artist path leading you? What are your goals as an artist?
I am always reminding myself to be a student and to stay hungry for more information. I see that layering and transferring of information as something that will allow me to grow and develop. I also look forward to continuing my journey and discovering my artistic voice — seeing how it will change chameleon-like as I grow as a person.
Ballet BC performs Program 3 which runs May 11 through 13 at The Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver.
Read the full profile in the January/February 2017 issue.