Jeannine Haller is completing her Post-Secondary Program at Canada’s National Ballet School. In the fall, the 18-year-old will begin her professional career with the National Ballet of Canada.

SDTC: Tell us what a typical day in your life looks like.

JH: Typically I get up around 7:30. Class is around 9 or 9:30, so I like to be in the studio an hour before to warm up my body and prepare for the day. Then I have 2-3 classes and an hour break for lunch before more classes and rehearsals in the afternoon. My first class of the day is ballet class, we’ll go through barre, center work, turns, jumps – just work on our technique and warm up for the day. Then pointe class – work on variations, and other things like that. After lunch we have an improv class where we either work on different improv techniques or learn more contemporary repetoire. And then we will sometimes have pas de deux, more pointe or rehearsals for our various shows coming up.

I like ballet class – working on the basics. But all the classes are really fun. We are rehearsing for our spring showcase {a mixed programme with classical and contemporary works} in May. We’re doing Swan Lake. And then my day will end between 4:30 and 6:45. I’ll come home and try to relax – reading, watching TV with my roommates, cook dinner ( I like to eat a lot of vegetables and proteins and grains like chickpeas and quinoa), then go to bed fairly early.

Have you always wanted to be a dancer?

I’ve always loved to dance since I was very young. Even in Vancouver I was pursuing a very intensive schedule. At a certain age when I realized that I could actually have a career – where my job was doing what I loved – it was not really a difficult decision.

What attributes should one cultivate to succeed as a dancer?

Dedication, patience and perserverence. A lot of training goes into it. It’s a neverending process. You have to keep being patient with yourself, because you’re always striving for perfection but you can never really achieve it. You need a strong work ethic to keep going into the studio everyday and work as hard as you can. You also need a love of dance, music and to enjoy what you do.

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What’s your dream role?

Potentially Juliet, from Romeo & Juliet. I love the story. Any of the classical ballets are really a dream to do. I love when ballet and dance can be used to tell a story and you can become a different character. It’s an amazing experience.

What do you love about being a dancer?

I love the process of working on a piece in the studio and then being able to perform it in front of a live audience. It’s really rewarding. Performing is so exhilarating. The process that goes into it – it’s very interesting.

Least fave part?

I love so much of it, but it’s a little hard sometimes if you’re in pointe shoes all day and at the end of the day you have blisters or your feet hurt.

What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced thus far?

It was a little bit of an adjustment but not too bad because I’d been training pretty hard before. This year my biggest challenge has been focusing on refining my technique and developing artistry. I’m not in school anymore, I’m about to enter the professional world. It’s easy to get caught in the nitty gritty athletic side of it and trying to be as technically perfect as you can, but we’re also working on artistry because ballet is an art form. That’s what makes a performance interesting.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of your new career as a dancer so far?

In February I went to Dresden for a month to perform Swan Lake in the corps de ballet with the Semperoper, so it’s a beautiful theatre, a live orchestra. It was an amazing experience to perform there and live there in Germany for a month. So that was definitely the most rewarding part so far.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

To still be part of a professional ballet company. Exploring and working on performing lots of interesting repetoire, and continuing to grow as an artist and a dancer.

Watch Haller & other Canada’s National Ballet School students perform at the Spring Showcase 2015, taking place from May 20-23 at the Betty Oliphant Theatre (404 Jarvis St). Box office opens on April 28. Tickets can be purchased by email:, or by phone at (416) 964-5148. Tickets are $50 for adults, $30 for students (with valid student ID) & seniors. More info here.