When Addie Tapp comes onstage, it’s hard to miss her—long and slender, she fills every movement with grace. It’s hard being a tall woman in the ballet world, but Ms. Tapp makes the best of it, winning over audiences with her distinctive figure. A dancer with Boston Ballet since 2014, the 21-year-old Colorado native is enjoying a ballet career marked by opportunity and featured roles. On a steady trajectory upward, this second soloist is one to watch.
As Ms. Tapp opened the 2017–18 season, The Boston Dance Journal chatted with her about her career, her aspirations and her mini goldendoodle, Milo.
This interview was lightly edited for length and clarity.
Favorite role: Odalisque in Le Corsaire
Dream role: Tall Girl in “Rubies” from George Balanchine’s Jewels
Favorite style of ballet: Neoclassical
What are you listening to these days? Sam Smith and John Legend
Are you binge-watching anything? This is Us
What’s a fun or interesting fact people don’t know about you? She had to have an appendectomy while on a trip to Mexico.
Any pets? A mini goldendoodle named Milo (follow him on Instagram: @milo.the.dood).
Boston Dance Journal: Tell me about your beginnings in ballet.
Addie Tapp: I started dancing when I was very small . . . at the local dance academy. I danced there until I was 14, and then I went to the School of American Ballet (SAB).
BDJ: What was the moment when you knew that you wanted to pursue ballet professionally?
AT: It was the transition when I got in (to SAB) and had that discussion with my family—“Alright, do you really want to do this? If we send you there, this is gonna be what you do.” And I said, “Yes, this is what I want to do.” My family is so supportive, and I’m so thankful that they let me go to New York when I was 14.
BDJ: Who have been some of your role models and influences, and why?
AT: Definitely my family has been supportive and there for me the whole time; them allowing me to go, it’s definitely been a big influence because they were always behind me and pushed me to be better. One of my professional role models is Maria Kowroski—she is the longest, most beautiful dancer I’ve ever seen in my life. When I was in school in New York, we got tickets to see New York City Ballet sometimes, and I remember going and seeing her, and I wanted to be like her so badly.
BDJ: Audiences know you for your long limbs—what are some of the challenges and some of the benefits of being a tall dancer?
AT: It’s kind of difficult to try and control my legs, so I really have to focus on my placement and I really have to work on core strength because sometimes it’s difficult to do the really fast stuff. I still have to move big, it’s just controlling it.
BDJ: And the core strength helps build the muscles that allow you to move quickly?
AT: Definitely. It helps me keep everything controlled in the center, and then from there I can move. If my core is gone, then I’m just gonna go.
BDJ: What are some of your personal goals?
AT: One of my main goals is to continue to grow as an artist. There are so many incredible artists here at Boston Ballet, and I look up to them so much. I think technique is really important, but I think that the artistry is what captivates the audience and makes them come to the ballet. I want to focus on that more, especially as I mature.
BDJ: You’ve clearly been doing something right—what does it take to be a “Star of the Corps,” as you were named in 2016 by Pointe magazine?
AT: It was so humbling! I’m just so grateful for all the opportunities I’ve been given here. When you’re in the corps you’re trying to be unified and dance as one, so I think it’s the small things that make people stand out.
BDJ: You’ve been on a steady upward trajectory since joining Boston Ballet; when you’re promoted and cast in major roles like the Lilac Fairy, Dew Drop and Sugarplum Fairy, is it daunting or exciting?
AT: It’s definitely a mixture of both. I initially feel a little bit intimidated by the role, to be honest. But I’m also super excited about it; you get that opportunity, and it’s really exciting. Once I start rehearsing it and feel more comfortable with it, then I’m just super excited to get it onstage and perform.
BDJ: Tell me about your favorite memory onstage.
AT: I think it was my first year here when we did Swan Lake. It was during the fourth act when all of the swans kneel to the floor, and [the music] is building, the fog is coming in, and it’s all of us going into our last pose. It was my first performance with Boston Ballet, and it was such a magical moment. It had been a long week because it was opening night, and we had rehearsed it so many times, and this is the first time we were all so unified as a corps.
BDJ: What is most meaningful and rewarding about being a ballerina?
AT: I’m really passionate about the art form, and it’s such a gift to be able to do what I love every day. It’s so rewarding, and I’m surrounded by all these people who are super dedicated and supportive, and we’re all shooting for the same thing. I’m just so happy to do what I love because I think sometimes people go to work and they look forward to going home at night, but when I wake up I look forward to coming in and rehearsing or getting to perform that night.
BDJ: How does it feel opening a new season?
AT: It’s really exciting. When we first get back onstage, it’s refreshing because we have the whole summer off and then we are just rehearsing for a couple of months. It’s like starting fresh.
See Addie Tapp next perform with Boston Ballet in The Nutcracker, November 24–December 31.