Getting to know demi soloist Michelle Carpenter

Guest writer:  Melissa Seuffert

Demi soloist Michelle Carpenter, a Mission Viejo, California native, joined Houston Ballet in 2002 after training at Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy.  Since being promoted to demi soloist in 2007, Ms. Carpenter has landed a number of soloist roles in ballets, including Stanton Welch’s La Bayadère and Falling.  Here she tells us a little more about herself:

What age did you start dancing?  Did you always love ballet?
I started “dancing” when I was 3 (if you can call it dancing at that age).  I have been dancing for as long as I can remember.  I didn’t start liking ballet until I was probably 10.  I did a lot of jazz and gymnastics.

When did you know you wanted dancing to be your career?
I think I always knew I wanted to be a dancer.  It’s every girl’s dream, and I’m so lucky to have achieved it.

What is your favorite part about being on stage? Do you have a ritual before going on stage?
I feel at home on stage. I love performing for audiences; it’s such a thrill to be out there, baring all for all to see. I don’t really have a ritual before going on stage.

Do you have a favorite moment in your dance career?
My favorite moment was getting an apprenticeship with Houston Ballet.

Do you have a favorite Houston Ballet moment?
Our 2009 tour to Spain was amazing. It was an amazing experience.

What is your most memorable role? Why?
I love dancing Snow Queen in The Nutcracker. Each year I have a different partner (sometimes multiple partners) to dance with. It’s a difficult role that is very rewarding.

What is your favorite time of the ballet season?
The Nutcracker
.
We are dancing and performing a lot. Every night you are dancing something different.

What aspects of dance do you find most satisfying?
Performing and have a feeling of accomplishment after a tough role.

Do you have any pets? If so, what kind? Names?
I have a cat named Lilly, a puggle (pug/beagle mix) named Bella, and a boxer named Sage.

What is your favorite thing to do in Houston? Do you have a favorite restaurant?
I enjoy taking my dogs to the dog park to play. They love to swim and fetch balls. My favorite restaurants are Chuy’s, Blue Fish House, Bombay Brasserie, and Mission Burrito. I really enjoy cooking at home too. I love tackling new and interesting recipes.

Childhood ambition?
To be a dancer and have a family.

Fondest memory?
Christmases at home with family.

Proudest moment?
Getting a job at Houston Ballet.

Favorite movie?
Anchorman, Billy Madison, Zoolander, Wedding Crashers, Eurotrip…anything funny.

Favorite book?
I just read the Twilight series and loved it. I also liked I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb and Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald.

Favorite TV show?
Top Chef, Design Star, anything on the Food Network, Project Runway, Biggest Loser, Scrubs.

Favorite food?
I can’t live without Mexican food!

Michelle Carpenter
Michelle Carpenter in rehearsal. Photo by Amitava Sarkar.
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