Columbian dancer Daniel Ayala started dancing at the age of 14, before going on to place in the Youth American Grand Prix and receiving scholarships to The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, Ballet West, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, ABT and more, but unfortunately his dreams are on hold due to covid, this is his story:
Why did you start taking ballet classes?
I used to do musical theater and I always liked dance the most, so I decided to pursue more formal training and started taking ballet classes. At first It was scary for me and other boys started to pick on me for doing it, but it made me realise how much I love ballet!
What it was like growing up in Bogota, Columbia.
I had a loving family, and I grew up being a pretty normal kid. But the more I took ballet the more it made me realise that my opportunities would be really limited in Columbia.
You started ballet at 14, which is quite late, how did you catch up in your training?
I’m still trying to catch up, so I’ve decided that my number one priority is getting into a company so each and everyday I put ballet first, I spend eight hours in the studio, I don’t go to parties and date like other teenagers and I know this sacrifice is going to pay off for me at the end. Some days are harder than others and I have to constantly remind myself of why I’m doing this.
Tell me about your Youth American Grand Prix Daniel experience?
I was nervous since it was my first time attending this competition, there were extremely talented dancers competing, but I was awarded Top 12 for the Senior Classical Division and 1st place in the Pas de Deux category with my partner Isabella McCool, and I was awarded several scholarships and invited to the New York finals.
Tell me about the scholarships to ABT, Peridance and Rock School of Dance?
I received this scholarships at the YAGP Regionals for their summer intensive but I couldn’t use any of them this year because of the Covid-19!
You placed second at The Universal Ballet Competition and was awarded scholarships to The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, Ballet West and Complexions Contemporary Ballet….
I was really grateful and honoured to receive all of these opportunities, but sadly because of the situation right now I couldn’t use them.
What did winning the UBC’s newest award “The So Danca Star Award” for Best in Class mean to you?
It really show me that I was starting to go in the right direction, the choices and sacrifices that I had made staring to show off and it helps me keep heading in the right direction
You donate your time teaching a Men’s Ballet and conditioning class at St. Lucie Ballet…
My partner’s family and coaches form St Lucie ballet have always believed in me and invested in my future and as more boys started to come I wanted to give back and mentor younger boys that are going through the same situation I went through.
Describe your experience as guest dancer with the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami..
It was so amazing to dance at the Fillmore in Miami and to be surrounded by incredible young dancers from all over the world and to receive class and coaching from some of the most original dancers from the Cuban National Ballet.
What is your role as the Ballet In The City Ambassador?
As an ambassador its my responsibility to inspire the love of the art-form of ballet and I really want to help other male dancers overcome or avoid the situations I was in when I was younger.
What are you dream roles?
I would love to perform the roles of Colas from La Fille Mal Gardee and Prince Siegfried from Swan Lake, they’re both such inspirational roles.
What are your dance goals?
My goals are to enter to a company and one day become a principal dancer and guest with my partner Isabella McCool around the world.
Why do you dance?
I dance because I love the connection between art, physicality and emotions and having the possibility to tell the audience a story is priceless. Every time I dance I am truly myself.
How do you deal with the pressures and challenges as an aspiring dancer?
I try to always communicate with my family and close friends and share my worries and challenges to make sure that I’m making the right decision and not carrying everything on my own shoulders.
Follow Daniel on Instagram @danielfordance!