A seasoned dancer, Dara Holmes' career with The Joffrey Ballet has consisted of a lot of heavy lifting in the ensemble. "As a new company member, I was onstage all the time," says Holmes, 28. "The older you get, the more you start to appreciate your body and want to preserve it. If I want to keep dancing and do bigger roles, I need to be healthy."
Holmes in Val Caniparoli's Incantations
Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet
Holmes began her training in Wilmington, North Carolina. She was scouted through a Head Start program by Elizabeth Hester, director of The Wilmington School of Ballet. She then attended The Harid Conservatory and was recruited as a Joffrey trainee in 2010. Holmes' decade with The Joffrey is peppered with highlights. She was featured in Val Caniparoli's Incantations in 2012, and danced a gorgeous Arabian in Robert Joffrey's Nutcracker. Last season, Holmes really hit her stride. She performed the boisterous tap duet with both Derrick Agnoletti and Edson Barbosa in Justin Peck's The Times Are Racing and fashioned a glowering, sardonic interpretation of Grace Poole, the beleaguered caretaker in Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre.
"I feel like I'm finally coming out of corps-dancer mentality," she says. "There was a period of time where I was very bitter. I realized how much that hinders the process of becoming an artist. Develop yourself no matter what you get. Grace Poole was one of those roles—you make the most of it."
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