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Anna Chaziroglou at the Youth America Grand Prix competition. Photo: LK Studio, Inc
NEW YORK – I have the honor of knowing Anna Chaziroglou personally for years, along with her family, who from an early age recognized her great talent and supported her every step of the way. Annoula, from when she was a little girl, has always been a graceful creature who even when she walks, it’s like dancing, something like a little fairy who enchants everyone around her with her grace and modesty.
Annoula recently won another important distinction in the demanding competition, the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP), the world’s largest non-profit international student ballet competition and scholarship program, in the category for 14 year olds. Anna was awarded the Diploma of Achievement for the Top 12 Junior Women on April 19 in Tampa, Florida. It is a huge success for Annoula to be included among the 12 best dancers in the world, competing against 15,000 top dancers. On the occasion of World Dance Day, which is celebrated every year on April 29, The National Herald had the pleasure to meet her and talk to her about ballet.
TNH: When and how did you find out that you want to dance ballet professionally?
Anna Chaziroglou: At the age of 11, when the school I was going to in Astoria closed, my dance teacher in Greece advised me to use the Vaganova method and attend a school with teachers who were her colleagues from the Bolshoi. When I started to work more seriously and more intensively, I realized that this was what I finally wanted to pursue in my life.
TNH: Anna, you are only 14 years old and you have managed to become famous in the field of classical ballet, worldwide, starting in perhaps the most competitive city in the world, New York. What elements of your character helped you in this endeavor?
AC: Hard work, perseverance, method, and strict discipline. For everything we do we must show seriousness and dedication to have the desired results. At the same time, like me, there are thousands of other dancers who are chasing perfection and claiming first place in competitions. The demands are huge.
TNH: What was the most important moment of your career so far?
AC: I believe that the YAGP competition I participated in this year and won first place in the quarterfinals in New York gave me the ticket to participate in the finals in Florida. This has been the highlight of my career so far, but I am always looking at my next goal. This makes me never be complacent and always concentrating on my purpose.
TNH: What was the biggest difficulty you faced in your journey so far and how were you able to overcome it?
AC: I think the worst are the minor injuries or even the most serious injuries before an important event. Many dancers often stay out of competitions because of these injuries. Fragile balances. It needs a lot of attention because the daily workouts last for many hours and are very demanding. One wrong move and it’s over. Fifteen days ago, I had a similar unpleasant experience with my ankle which fortunately was successfully treated. Otherwise I would have been excluded. So much training and sacrifice would have been wasted.
TNH: What is the daily life of a ballerina on a championship level when she also attends school?
AC: I’m going to the ninth grade. For the academic part of my studies, I take online lessons in the afternoons in a very good private school and this is demanding, since at the same time I am learning Russian and French. In the morning, I pack my clothes, my uniforms, and my shoes, and I go by train to the Upper West Side of Manhattan and I have a workout until 4 PM. There I try as much as I can to learn, to improve, and to overcome any technical difficulty. Then I have a private lesson with my teacher to prepare me for the competitions. I finish at 5 or 5:30 PM. Then I come home and study until late at night. I plan to go to a very good university. Even the weekends are full in order to cover the material. At the same time, I am informed about the developments in the field of ballet, since I am now working professionally. I also read music history and often present my work at school. This is also something that takes time.
TNH: What are your dreams for the future?
AC: The Greek word for dance, ‘choros’ comes from the Greek word for ‘hand’. I got a Greek passport so that my artistic career would be blue and white. I want to spread my love for classical dance in Greece as well. I do not know where I will end up. I live a dream so I do not have time to think about anything else. I enjoy every moment of this journey. I hope the road is long. Time will tell. Only today belongs to us. Tomorrow is not ours. Let’s conquer today, the now, this moment that leaves and will not return.
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