Celeste Gaiera began her dance training at age five in New Zealand under the inspirational guidance of Marian McDermott. After arriving in the United States, she joined a full-time ballet training program in Portland, Oregon. She then moved to San Francisco to train on scholarship at Marin Dance Theater under the direction of Margaret Swarthout and Lynn Cox. Celeste was selected to join Pittsburgh Ballet Theater’s Graduate Program on scholarship, where she enjoyed many opportunities to perform with the company and work with artistic director, Terrence S Orr. Throughout her training, Celeste has attended many summer intensives, including Houston Ballet, Miami City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. Celeste attended Netherlands Dance Theater in 2016, where she performed works by Paul Lightfoot, Sol León, Mengahn Lou, and Crystal Pite.
Where are you from?
I grew up in New Zealand but my family now lives in Portland, Oregon.
When did you begin dancing?
Bouncing around to music in my ‘jolly jump up’ at 6 months old.
Why did you begin dancing?
Music makes me move! My parents noticed this in me at a young age and me enrolled in dance classes.
When did you join Texas Ballet Theater?
This will be my first season with Texas Ballet Theater!
What is your favorite ballet to see?
Romeo and Juliet
What is your favorite ballet to perform/what is your favorite role you have performed?
Waltz Girl in George Balanchine’s “Serenade”. The role is a complete expression of the music; it requires you to fully give yourself up to the movement, which is such a freeing feeling!
What surprised you the most about being a professional dancer?
This is my first season as a professional dancer, but one of the things I was awakened to as a pre-professional was how vital artistry is to a being a professional dancer. You can’t develop into a professional dancer without artistry.
What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
I would like to attempt some profession that involves working with dancers and healing.
What outdoor activities do you enjoy?
Anything in nature! Hiking and surfing are my favorites.
Do you have a favorite sports team? If so, who?
Yes, the New Zealand All Blacks!
What kind of music do you like best?
I love all genres of music but I will say that I love Alternative and I also have a sweet spot for jazz. Big band jazz, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra….I’m an old soul:)
What’s your least favorite part of getting ready for a performance?