The Heroine’s Journey of Nonaa Ndoye

What is the best thing that I love about my work? Feeling alive every time when I dance is the best thing… The quotation of Merce Cunningham explains it:
“You have to love dancing to stick to it. It gives you nothing back, no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to show on walls and may be hang in museums, no poems to be printed and sold, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive.”

What is my idea of perfect happiness? Being the best part of myself is for me the perfect happiness. When you really know yourself, nothing is impossible and life will guide you to the things that you deserve. Think happy, eat happy, sleep happy, dance happy… It is hard sometimes but the Universe is not punishing you or controlling you. What you put out into the Universe, you will get back like an echo.

What is my greatest fear? This question is really hard… I am afraid of everything (ahahah). But my greatest fear is to end up alone. I love sharing and learning things from people around me. I have so much love to give and so much things to learn! I don’t want to end up alone and I also don’t want to end up with people that make me feel alone.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?  I am a passionated person. I have to control my emotions.

Which living persons in my profession do i most admire? I admire all the teachers that I met, they are so patient, they always believe in their students, they use lot of energy to push us. My director in Paris, Rick Odums, was the first one who told me that I have to leave France. My “dance parents” Toni Pierce Sands and Uri Sands helped me here in US. My lovely artistic director Karah Abiog at LINES is always there. All the fabulous dancers of LBTP (Lines Ballet Training Program) !!!!!! I admire all these beautiful people…

What is my greatest extravagance? On December 2016, I got a new tattoo, Cherry Blossom on my side. The cherry blossom is fundamentally a symbol of love and joy. The cherry blossom promotes love and spiritual awareness. In Japan, it is a symbol of simplicity, spring and innocence. It is also symbol of hope, it marks the start of new beginnings. The intensity and liveliness of the cherry blossom gives the warrant for anyone to dream and hope for big things in the future and to be optimistic. In the Japanese culture, the flower serves as a reminder of mortality and humanity knowing that the life of a human being can end anytime just like the flower. In China, it is linked with the female beauty and authority as well. China considers the cherry blossom to be a representation of feminine beauty and power. It is considered a symbol of the attractive looks of a woman and her strength. It also acts as a symbol of love, commonly referred to as keeping a feminized emotion.

On what occasion would I lie? Usually, I lie to myself. When I feel not really good I hide it. I don’t know why, I’ve always been like that. BUT I AM WORKING ON IT!!! It is one thing that I have to change, that I am conscious of and which is annoying. PS: When you are lying you deceive someone but you deceive yourself FIRST.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? There is a thing that I dislike and love at the same time. As a dancer you make sacrifices… One of them is that you have to travel, you leave the people that you love. It’s hard, you don’t know when you will be back… But when you are back, you are so excited to see them again and realized that nothing changed. They still there for you, you still love them.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? Last year, I was auditioning for Alonzo King LINES Ballet Training Program. I send a dance video to them which take me a long time to make because I thought it was not enough good, I was working hard to make it perfect, to give the best of me. I felt in love with this school and its philosophy. My wish was to be accepted! One night, I received an email from LINES which said that I was accepted in the program with a scholarship… At this time I was with my family, I cried tears of joy and I called my friend Vanessa who helped me to make my video “perfect”.
Today that I joined LINES Training Program in San Francisco, I am the happiest dancer in the world. 😇 This inspiring speech of Alonzo King can help you to understand why I love this school:

If I could, what would I change about myself? My body!!!!!! I start Karate when I was 6, because of that my body is more like a fighter than a dancer. Then, I stopped competitions of karate at 15/16 to start dancing. I saw my muscles changed, they were finer and longer… But it’s not enough for me, I still work on it. 😇

What is my greatest achievement in work? Being enough courageous to leave my family at 19 years old to go to San Francisco for one year was my greatest achievement. I worked a lot for it, I took lot of extra classes when I was in Paris to be able to find a good school in US. It was hard physically and mentally but I did it!

Where would I most like to live? I was born and raised in Paris. I never realized how much this city was beautiful until I leave it… But as a dancer it is complicated, we have to travel. Currently, I live in San Francisco and I don’t know where I will be next year. The thing that I know is that I want to finish my career in Paris, I want to raise my children there… But we will see where life guides me!

What is my most treasured possession? My mum gives me the ring that she bought in Egypt for her mother just before moving to San Francisco. It’s two hoops which cross and melt within each other. According to me, they represente the love between a mother and her child (I LOVE YOU MAMAN). I wear this ring on my right thumb so I can see it every time, at the barre in ballet class, when I draw, when eat etc… And I will give it to my future child.

What is my most marked characteristic? I think my smile is one of my characteristic. I am always smiling, when I sleep (I am sleepwalker and talker ahah), when I eat, when I dance, when I cry… I also laugh A LOT! It makes work my abs.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? When I was in Paris, there was not a special location that I liked to find inspiration… I used to walk on the streets at the end of the day when all the city was shining. It was beautiful, I was serene and my senses were awake. Here in San Francisco, I love watching the sea to awake my creativity.

What is my favorite place to eat and drink, in my city? In Paris, there is a couscous place next to my old dance school (IFPRO Rick Odums). I went there for the first time with my director Rick Odums, his wife Hafida, my Horton teacher Magali Vérin, her friend Norma, my “dance mother” Toni Pierce Sand and her son Tre Odums. IT WAS SO GOOD!!!!!!!! Please, if you visit Paris go to this restaurant: it is called L’avenir, on 51 rue Blanche Paris 75009. In San Francisco, I like the restaurant Boabab. It is a Senegal place that remembers me when my dad was cooking for me and my friends during the Christmas break when I was in Paris. The address is 3372 19th Street, San Francisco 94110.

What books influenced my life and how? The Alchemist and Manuscript found in Accra of Paulo Coelho are my favorite books.Why should you read The Alchemist? Whatever it is, your dream matters. The Alchemist is all about that. Be the Alchemist of your own life, make your dreams come true. You might not believe in the hocus pocus, but you can’t argue with its example: tuning out the pressures of the world to focus on what really matters to you.

Manuscript found in Accra is about experience in life. One thing that I remember the most about this book is that there is nothing wrong with anxiety. Although we cannot control God’s time, it is part of the human condition to want to receive the thing we are waiting for as quickly as possible or to drive away whatever is causing our fears.Anxiety was born in the very same moment as mankind. And since we will never be able to master it, we will have to learn to live with it, just as we have learned to live with storms.

Who are my favorite writers? I really love Paulo Coelho. Two of my best quotes are “I haven’t the slightest interest in being happy. I prefer to live life passionately, which is dangerous because you never know what may happen next.” and “I am proud of the scars in my soul. They remind me that I have an intense life.”
I also love Marc Levy and Frederic Lenoir.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? I would listen to “If I ain’t got you” ( singing by James Blake or his song “Forever” ( “Don’t use the word forever, we live too long to be so loved.”

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? Cat woman is my heroine!! She doesn’t have superpower, she just developed an extreme agility and discretion. She also do martial art and love cat! She is strong and independent, mysterious and likeable.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? My parents are my heroes!!! I start Karate when I was 6 with my father, he trained me for competitions and I won the second place in the French Competition in 2009. He teached me discipline, how to work hard, how to defend myself, how to save my energy… Few years after I got my black belt and stopped competitions of Karate to start dancing. I was 15, it was old to start dancing according to some people. But I didn’t believe that! Because my mother was there for me. She supported me, gave me love and strength to continue. She said to me to start now. Start where I was. Start with fear, pain and doubts but start and don’t stop. Just start. They both are really courageous, strong, inspiring, special, beautiful and humble.

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime? Few days ago I was watching the Rememberance. This film is about a married woman who find that the former lover that rescued her from a concentration camp 30 years earlier is alive. It is easy to fall into clichés in this kind of films but the story actually left a lot to explore on our own. I was impressed by the actors, there was so much nuance and emotion and subtlety that at times I felt it was too real to be acted out. Films of the Second World War can be too melodramatic and predictable, in my experience but this one was a fantastic film.

What role plays art in my life and work? Art is essential is my life. I wake up everyday at 7am to take my dance classes until 6pm. I go back home, draw, watch a film or read a book. Arts is everywhere, you just need to open your eyes to see it.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? My greatest fan is my mother OF COURSE, she is always there to support me. My partners in crime are my brother Jean Ndoye who is a MMA fighter and my sister Madeleine Ndoye black belt of Karate. I also have really good friends who always support me: Joël L., Maeva A., Shirwann, Sarah W. who are dancers, my Theo M. who is the beautiful, intelligent and sweetest man I’ve ever known and Leonie a young dancer.

Whom would I like to work with in 2017? I love the work of Alonzo King, NDT, Ballet Jazz de Montreal, Batsheva, Angelin Prejlocaj, William Forsythe… I love the ballet and the contemporary dances: their fusion allows flights of a magnificent poetic size, as a creation alive and full of colors and movements. Succeed in the dance is a real fight of life, it is not easy and I am aware of it. But I am “only” 19, I need to acquire improvement and develop a strong base in ballet. I need to work harder!

Which people in my profession would i love to meet in 2017? People who can change my life, make it better maybe… People that can teach me how to be more professional and stronger physically and mentally.

What project, in 2017, am I looking forward to work on? For September 2017, I would like be to accepted in The Alvin Ailey School (New York) or Arts Umbrella/Ballet BC (Vancouver). I want to have a stronger technique in ballet, modern and contemporary.

Where can you see me or my work in 2017? I have no ideas… I just let life guides me. I trust life.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? Passion is a part of us. As artists, we live it from the inside. We almost always have pains, physically and mentally. We personify life itself. We can’t never let down. We want to bring movement to life with our hearts… I would like to show you what is inside of us when we practice our art but I can’t show you what is inside of my heart. Passion never retires.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? Peter should invite Maeva Boldron who is an inspiring and beautiful artist and Elizabeth Pischel a young, beautiful and talented dancer.

How can you contact me?

You can find me on:


I also invite you to watch and share my last video:

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