Modern Muse, our series celebrating accomplished, stylish, real women. In other words, women just like you.
As principal dancer for the Los Angeles Ballet, Allyssa Bross is living out every girl’s dream. But the ballet life also demands constant strength, focus and grace. The prima ballerina opens up on tackling moments of great pressure and taking leaps of faith.
[Bailey44:] You’ve been a dancer since you were just three years old. What’s kept you dancing all these years?
[Allyssa:] Obviously I love to dance, but love isn’t what gets me to the studio in the morning when my body hurts so bad that I feel like I can’t move. It has to be deeper than that. Dance has become my form of expression. It’s allows me to be vulnerable and share my soul with the world.
At what point did you realize you wanted to pursue it as a career?
In my mind dancing was always my dream job, but I didn’t know that ballet could be a profession until my dad took me to see The Nutcracker when I was eleven. Ballet is so intense and structured, but you constantly have room to grow. That stuck with me.
How has dancing connected with you as a woman?
Dancing has taught me how to be confident with who I am and not compare myself to others. It’s taught me how to be graceful and elegant even when things are hard, and how to fight through obstacles to make my dreams come true. I have learned strength through resilience, and compassion for those around me by seeing what it took for them to get to where they are. Confidence, grace, elegance, determination, resilience, and compassion – that’s what womanhood is all about!
How has your style evolved throughout your career?
I work out all day long, so I used to show up to dance in sweats and that was the extent of my wardrobe. When I moved to LA, I realized I needed to step up my fashion game. Everywhere I go, I am representing Los Angeles Ballet as their principal dancer. My style tends to mimic that- simple and elegant.
What are the staple pieces in your closet?
Black jeans, a basic tee, a cream oversized sweater, and a denim button down.
What are some of the obstacles you face as a dancer?
Most female dancers struggle with body image and I’ve dealt with it, as well. I’ve been dancing my entire life so it became part of my identity. I sought validation from everyone around me and identified who I was by my performances. I craved the attention and applause, and felt that I constantly needed approval from those around me. Then I realized that if I got injured and couldn’t dance again, I wouldn’t know who I was. I began to get involved with my church and started finding ways to give back to the community. Serving others took the attention off myself and gave me a bigger sense of purpose. A few years ago I was just Allyssa the dancer. Today I am Allyssa, a woman who’s passionate, organized, focused, loves to help others and has a heart for kids. Oh, and she loves to dance! My identity is no longer in my career and that is the most freeing lesson I have ever learned.
What advice would you give an aspiring ballerina?
Never forget that you were made beautiful. Ballerinas are their own worst critics. We see everything that we are doing wrong. You have to remember all that you are doing well.
What’s your most memorable performance?
Romeo and Juliet. Juliet was my dream role, and I got the chance to dance it during Los Angeles Ballet’s 10th season. You have to be so vulnerable and emotional on stage – I loved it. A week after performing the role, I got married. The whole experience was just a fairytale for me.
Who is your Modern Muse?
My friend Laura Williams. A few years ago Laura decided she wanted to start her own floral design company, Poppyhill Flowers, and it has grown so quickly! She brings beauty everywhere she goes, not just through her floral designs, but by the way she lives her life. She is such an amazing and selfless mother, wife, friend, and business owner.