Jessica Fyfe was born in Brisbane (Australia) and grew up in Newcastle and Melbourne. She received her first ballet training at the Marie Walton Dance Academy in Newcastle. In 2000 she continued her ballet education at the Australian Ballet School in Melbourne. During her education she took part in several international competitions, such as the Prix de Lausanne where she was a finalist in 2008, or the Beijing Ballet Internations Competition as well as the Genée Ballet Competition.
What gets you out of bed in the mornings?
Breakfast with a strong coffee and a hug from my husband.
How did you start dancing and why?
I began dancing at the age of 3, though it was not because either my mum or I wanted me to. When I was born, I had severe hip dysplasia which meant my hips were not fully formed at birth, so my childhood doctor recommended to put me into ballet to strengthen and teach my muscles to work properly so I would be able to walk and run normally. I fell in love with ballet and it has been my life ever since.
Most memorable moment of your career?
I have been lucky enough to have several so far in my career. Dancing Olga in Onegin while in my first year at the Australian Ballet was amazing. Dancing the 2nd Paquita Variation at the Sydney opera house; a role normally performed by dancer’s much taller than myself. Performing the role of Clara in Sir Peter Wright’s Nutcracker, with a partner I have always wanted to dance with, and dancing the Princess Fluorine in David McAllister’s Sleeping Beauty. My first solo role with my new company, The Stuttgart Ballet, Bianca in Taming of the Shrew has been the most memorable and life changing moment in my career so far.
Who is your role model and why?
Many artists and dancers inspire me, but a special role model to me is Madeline Eastoe, formally Principal with the Australian Ballet. Her many qualities, both on and off the stage, for me define the essence of a true artist. I do have to give credit to my incredible husband, he keeps me grounded and inspires me to always be a better person.
Photo by Roman Novitzky
Do you have a specific way of warming up for a performance or to get focused for a main role?
I like to be ready early! To have time to breathe, to give my body what it needs (a good stretch, roll out, Pilates) and to get into character. I do my own Barre, listening to the orchestra warm up over the internal speakers in the studio. Through them you can also faintly hear the audience chattering as they take their seats and it gives me a real buzz. I like to have at least 4-6 pairs of pointe shoes ready to choose from for the performance and always have water, leg warmers and a spare pair of shoes in the wings.
Which is your favourite theatre in the world to dance in?
I would love to dance in all the great theatres of the world, but from the many I have already performed in I must say the Opera House of the Stuttgart Ballet is a beautiful and very special place. The audience are very close to you and at an equal level to the stage. I love this! It makes you feel so connected to the audience and you can really feel the presence of the people you are performing for.
How is company life at Stuttgart Ballet?
Wonderful or I should say “Wunderbar”! The company is full of both incredible dancers and wonderful coaches, who support you so completely and allow you to reach your full potential. It is an amazing environment to be a part of and I love it.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I love playing the guitar, singing and writing my own songs. It helps me unwind from a show and escape. I wrote and performed a song at our recent wedding as a surprise for my husband and have never been so nervous to perform in all my life!
Jessica Fyee as Bianca in John Cranko's The Taming of the Shrew, @Stuttgart Ballet
What is your favourite ballet trick/step?
I love the pas de deux; connecting with your partner to tell a story with them through the steps, the stillness and pure expression. But at the end of class, if the pianist plays some coda music, I will never say no to a new combination of fouettes!
What has been the hardest and most challenging role you have performed?
Bianca from John Cranko’s Taming of the Shrew, is technically challenging, but also demanding due to the character I had to develop. My debut as Bianca was also my first performance with my incredible new partner and all these challenges made the curtain call so satisfying.
What's your escape from the ballet world?
My home, with my husband and our little dog Tigger. Cooking and sharing food with our friends, exploring new cities around the world and writing new songs about it all.
Any words of advice for those aspiring to become professional ballet dancers?
Trust yourself, listen, watch and learn everthing! A quote I live by and said in my wedding vows: ‘Faith is the daring of the soul to go further than the eye can see’.