Student spotlight: Alexie Montoya

Catherine Liu, Staff Writer

From twirling into dance at age three and first competing at five, junior Alexie Montoya has progressed from performing in small recitals to ballets hosted by the American Ballet Theatre, the ballet school she currently attends.

“Since my first recital, once my mom saw me walk on stage, she said that my face lit up and she thought ‘she’s born to perform,’” Montoya said.

Photo Courtesy of ALEXIE MONTOYA
Alexie Montoya dances at a summer intensive program in Austin, Texas, which she attended this past summer.

Before Montoya joined the ABT, she had danced for multiple studios and competed at competitions such as Star Systems and CAR.

Her mom helped with her final decision after she considered the outcome of commercial and ballet dancing. She was told that with commercial dancing, she would have to stop at 18, but with ballet dancing, she could become a professional and perform for thousands.

“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. But after my mom gave me that speech, my answer was super easy. I chose the ballet route,” Montoya said via messenger.

Afterwards, Montoya attended a month-long ballet summer intensive program in San Francisco, an experience that helped her improve in both technique and skill as she danced for ten hours a day. In total, she has attended five summer intensives, with her most recent one in Austin, Texas.

“It was such an amazing experience for me, I met so many people there and they’re from all over the world,” Montoya said.

She found out about ABT opening in California during her performance in “Sleeping Beauty.” Once her mother saw the ABT flyers posted at the center, she signed her up.

“I didn’t really have to audition because it was the first year so we just had to go to the orientation and they put us into levels. But, if I were to drop out right now I would have to audition to get back in,” Montoya said.

Along with “Sleeping Beauty,” Montoya has been in ABT’s “The Nutcracker,” which has been held at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa in December for the last two years. During her second year in “The Nutcracker,” she did not originally have a role, which she says was devastating.

“The reason why I didn’t make it was because of my body type. When you’re a ballerina you have to be completely flat and skinny,” Montoya said. “I was obviously more developed than the other girls cause they were nine to thirteen. I just felt a little bit awkward. My mom basically told me that I can’t change anything about it, it’s feminine to be developed.”

However, Montoya was able to get a spot as a polichinelle when her ballet teacher noticed that she was not in the play even though he said she had the skills. For this year’s performance of “The Nutcracker,” Montoya will again dance as a polichinelle.

Montoya receives inspiration from her mom and Misty Copeland, the first African American dancer at ABT to be a principal ballerina. She states that she plans to pursue ballet professionally in the future and join a suitable company such as the ABT or the Pacific Northwest Ballet.