Ballet San Jose Artist Spotlight: Dancer Mallory Welsh

A behind-the-scenes photo of Ballet SJ dancer Mallory Welsh.

A behind-the-scenes photo of Ballet SJ dancer Mallory Welsh.

Ballet San Jose dancers are deep into Nutcracker rehearsals now—Principal Ballet Master Raymond Rodriguez tweeted earlier this week that staging for The Battle had begun!—with choreographer and Ballet SJ Principal dancer Karen Gabay, who is setting all-new choreography on the company. The studios are busy with rehearsals, and Ballet San Jose School is packed every afternoon with a full schedule of classes. As we get back into the swing of things, we are so excited to be able to introduce our newest dancers to you via our blog.

We continue our Artist Spotlight series from last week with Mallory Welsh, a dancer some of you may remember from past seasons at Ballet SJ. After a season away, Mallory is back to dance in the corps for a diverse Ballet SJ season of company premieres by many exciting and renowned choreographers. We sat down with Mallory a couple of weeks ago to talk about her earliest dance memory, her biggest inspiration, and her favorite non-dancing hobby.

Tell me about your dance background before coming to Ballet San Jose—the second time!

I started taking tap classes when I was very young at a small studio in my birthplace Columbia, South Carolina.  I loved to tap.  As I got older my teacher suggested I start taking Ballet classes as well and I’m glad she did.  Eventually I moved to New York and had the honor of training with amazing teachers from the School of American Ballet, LaguardiaHigh School for Performing Arts, and The Joffrey Ballet School.  My first job with a professional dance company was right here with Ballet San Jose as an apprentice in 2006. I left for the 2011-2012 season to follow other opportunities, but I’m so happy that I’ve found my way back to Ballet San Jose.

I know a lot of people are really happy to have you back!

Thank you!  Everyone has welcomed me back with open arms and that means the world to me.  I’m so happy to be home!

What inspired you to become a dancer?

Mallory Welsh as a young dancer!

Mallory as a young dancer!

One of my earliest memories is of my mom taking me to a small dance studio in downtown Columbia where there was a class in session. I watched the dancers through the glass door and I was awe-struck. I remember watching them for hours (although, in reality, I was probably only watching for 3-5 minutes).  After that I couldn’t stop dancing.  I would dance up and down the driveway, around the kitchen, and even in restaurants—which was probably very annoying to everyone trying to eat—but I’ve been dancing ever since.

Name one dancer who has inspired you in your dancing career.

There are a lot of inspirational dancers out there and it’s not easy to name just one, but when asked that question the one name that comes  to my mind is [longtime Ballet SJ Soloist] Tiffany Glenn.  There was one performance in particular that I will never forget. Tiffany danced in a piece about Rosa Parks at a small theater in New York.  She wore all red with a beautiful long, full skirt.  It’s hard to describe her performance, but it was beyond amazing.  The way she danced and the way she portrayed the story was filled with so much heart that she brought me to tears.  I feel very lucky to have known her and I know I’m not the only person she’s inspired.

What non-dancing hobbies or activities do you pursue in your time off?

I don’t know if it’s considered a hobby, but I teach Pilates a lot.  When I’m not working, though, I enjoy just being human—spending time with friends, napping, cooking, watching movies…napping.

What movies or local events did you most enjoy this summer?

I was pretty busy with moving and teaching Pilates this summer, but when I had free time I did some traveling to see family and friends…lots of driving.

What works in the new season are you looking forward to?

All of them! I’m really excited.

What one thing do you most want to say to Ballet SJ fans and supporters?

You are the best! Thank you for supporting us and making it possible for us to do what we love everyday!

See Mallory and the rest of Ballet San Jose on stage this December in an all-new production of The Nutcracker, featuring world premiere choreography by Karen Gabay. Tickets are now on sale online at, or you can also call the Box Office at (408) 288-2800. And don’t forget, you still have time to subscribe to the 2013 Repertory Season! Purchase your subscription online or by phone today and get additional discounts on single tickets, free parking, and other fun perks throughout the 2013 Season.

We are so excited to share this new Nutcracker and electrifying season with you! See you at the theater!

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