Karina González in Ben Stevenson's Coppélia. Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy Houston Ballet.

Houston Ballet Principal Karina González On Her Adjustment to Motherhood and Conquering Self-Doubt

Are you more of a Giselle or a Juliet?

I've always said that my favorite role is Juliet, because of her vulnerability and maturity throughout the ballet. But now that I've performed Giselle, I find her so incredibly enjoyable, from being a village girl who falls in love for the first time to the most tender, almost weightless dancing in Act II.

Are you more at home in the studio or onstage?

I love the time in the studio. The process of starting from zero to getting better each day is so rewarding. My favorite phrase in rehearsals is "Let's do it again, so I can sleep in peace tonight." I need to feel so comfortable in the studio so that when I am onstage there are no bad surprises.


González as Sylvia in Stanton Welch's Sylvia

Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy Houston Ballet

Which ballet was hardest to learn and perform?

My first time doing Swan Lake. Not because of the steps, but because of self-doubt. I didn't think I was right for the role, so it was hard to trust my own instincts. The fun part is that my second time around, I had an incredible time onstage.

What has been the biggest challenge of your career?

Coming back from pregnancy—from accepting my new body, to sleeping only a few hours at night, to the many days crying, feeling that I am choosing my work over my baby. But it's also been the most wonderful time in my career. My time in the studio is so different. I'm much more aware of my body, of the steps, of absorbing information faster because now my time at home is precious.

González in Stanton Welch's Giselle

Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy Houston Ballet

You've watched Houston flood and your country, Venezuela, endure political turmoil. What kept you going through all of that?

What has kept me inspired is the generosity and the humanity of others—people donating their time, food and toys, and opening their doors to families. I have faith that soon the hard times will pass.

If you could have coffee with one famous dancer, who would that be?

Vicente Nebrada. He was the director of National Ballet of Caracas, in my hometown. I would thank him for giving my country a place where artists could dance, and for choosing to represent our culture in many of his ballets by using traditional music, folk dance and adding Latino flavor. It makes me proud of where I come from and what my country represents in the ballet world.

González with Chun Wai Chan in Justin Peck's Reflections

Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy Houston Ballet

What's your biggest indulgence?

I am always snacking throughout the day, especially if it's crunchy. Also, I have a cold Coca-Cola after a good show—it's maybe not the best option, but it is the most satisfying.

What do we not know about you?

My mom and I, with the help of friends and family members, are creating a nonprofit organization in Venezuela called KG Tus Manos y Mis Manos to help our community, especially kids, during these hard times.

Latest Posts


Getty Images

How Can I Stay Motivated While Training at Home?

Ethan Ahuero was having a good year: he was in his first season dancing with Kansas City Ballet II and had been presented with the opportunity to choreograph on the second company. "The day before we shut down I had a rehearsal, and I was so happy," Ahuero says. "The piece was coming together and this was the first time I felt really proud of my creative process."

Suddenly, the coronavirus pandemic brought everything to a halt. With the company's season cut short and the studios closed, Ahuero found himself attempting to continue dancing from home, with his choreography project put on hold. Like many other dancers around the world, Ahuero is dealing with disappointment while struggling to stay motivated.

Keeping up with daily ballet classes may feel difficult right now; inspiration can seem hard to come by when you're following along on Zoom and short on space at home. Below are a few simple tips for finding new ways to stay motivated.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
THE GINGERB3ARDMEN, Courtesy Complexions Contemporary Ballet

How Jillian Davis Created Her Own Path to Complexions and Learned to Believe in Herself

It's impossible to miss Complexions Contemporary Ballet's Jillian Davis onstage. Tall and glamorous, her commanding stage presence, luxurious movement quality and intuitive musicality have made her one of the company's standout stars. But her road to Complexions was anything but linear. The 6'2" dancer worked tirelessly over several years to find her place in the dance world, ultimately reinventing herself and creating her own path to success. At a time when many early career dancers may be facing uncertainty, her story shows the power of resiliency.

Davis grew up on a dairy farm in Kutzstown, Pennsylvania, where she studied dance at a local studio and in the Philadelphia area, and took private lessons at home. She also started growing, shooting up seven inches over one summer. At 13, she and her family decided to take her daily training up a notch, commuting 100 miles each way to the Princeton Dance & Theater Studio, where she studied under Risa Kaplowitz and Susan Jaffe. By then she was already 5'7", and she soon realized—especially as she started learning how to partner—that her height might be an issue if she wanted to dance ballet professionally.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Tulsa Ballet in Ma Cong's Tchaikovsky: The Man Behind the Music. Kate Luber Photography, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet.

Updated: Mark Your Calendars for These Online Ballet Performances

Updated on 5/21/2020

Since COVID-19 has forced ballet companies around the world to cancel performances—and even the remainder of their seasons—many are keeping their audiences engaged by streaming or posting pre-recorded performances onto their websites or social media channels. To help keep you inspired during these challenging times, we've put together a list of upcoming streaming events and digital performances.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks