Catching Up With Joy Womack on Two Upcoming Films Based on Her Life, Plus How She's Managed in Quarantine
Many ballet films canonize the careers of dancers long retired from the stage. But that's not the case for Joy Womack, who at just 26 has not one, but two films in the works based on her life. Womack made a splash early on as the first American to graduate from the domestic program of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in over 60 years, and the first American woman to join the Bolshoi Ballet. After whirlwind careers as a principal with the Kremlin Ballet Theatre of Moscow and South Korea's Universal Ballet, Womack has just completed her first season as an artist with Boston Ballet.
Both upcoming films cover Womack's years in Russia. Joy Womack: The White Swan, a documentary made by Dina Burlis and Sergey Gavrilov, debuted at Cannes Marché in June. It is currently in post-production. The second project, Joika, is a feature film directed by James Napier Robertson starring Thomasin McKenzie as Womack. Production has been halted due to the pandemic, but filming is rescheduled to start in early 2021 in New Zealand.
We caught up with Womack in Redding, California, where she's just relocated with her boyfriend, to hear all about how she's managing during the coronavirus shutdown, and what it's been like to imagine her life played out on the big screen.
Womack with Mikhail Martynyuk during the Moscow International Ballet Competition in 2017
Alisa Aslanova, Courtesy Womack<p><strong>Let's talk about <em>Joika</em>. When were you first approached about a biopic?</strong><br></p><p>At first it was a Christian movie company that wanted to do a story based on my life as a Christian. Then another company bought it, and finally Anonymous Content renegotiated a deal and sent a writer to follow me. He came to see me perform <em>Swan Lake </em>in Australia, and then followed me around in Los Angeles and I showed him around Moscow. They got me to agree to the film when he insisted that they didn't want to make a movie about me, but about ballet, and that he wanted it to be very genuine. I was all for that because I think the only way to make ballet more mainstream is to have more of it in Hollywood.</p><p><strong>How involved are you in the production process?</strong><br></p><p>I was very involved in the writing process, and I'm hoping to be involved as a consultant when they're filming. I'd also like to work on the choreography, and potentially as a dance double for Thomasin. For now, I've used my network to find her a coach in New Zealand. With COVID, we'll see what ends up happening.</p><p><strong></strong><strong>Many people don't have these kinds of projects made about them until they're much further along in their careers. What does it feel like to be starting your new chapter with Boston Ballet, while simultaneously being at the center of this whole other world? </strong><br></p><p>In a way, I haven't even wanted to think about the films.<strong> </strong>I think it would be a tragedy if the best part of my life was behind me. It was a really hard time, and now I'm struggling with figuring out what I should do next, how I can dance better, how I can dance more of the things I want to dance, how I can change the dance world in a way that makes it a healthier, safer and more exciting place. It's been a struggle. But I think there's a reason that COVID happened, in the sense that I need to reexamine my priorities. There are some exciting things in the works, but I don't think I'm a ballet dancer in the traditional sense of following any prescribed path. I think my road will be very different going forward.</p>
Beans, lentils, peas, peanuts, soybeans and chickpeas are all part of the legume family, categorized for their pods that contain seeds. Here are three reasons dancers shouldn't overlook this nutritious staple.
1. They pack a nutritional punch.<p>Legumes are high in protein, as well as dietary fiber, which will keep you fuller longer during rehearsals. They're also a good source of iron, which many dancers may not have enough of.</p>