By Kristen Krynski/
Imagine realizing in a single moment what you are destined to do for the rest of your life, especially at a young age. At 15-years-old, Esmiana Jani performed one of her favorite solos as the Disney classic princess, Sleeping Beauty. During that performance, Jani realized onstage, “This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”
Now 20-years-old, Jani has been dancing for 15 years. She was born in Albania, but moved to Greece at age five. It was at that age when Jani first looked into ballet. She said, “As a baby, I walked on my tippy-toes; I never used my heels. A woman stopped my mom in a park and asked if I did ballet because I was walking on my toes. That gave my mom the idea to start ballet, and ever since, I loved it.”
Around the age of eight, Jani came to Broomall where she attended school while continuing dance. She worked in Media at the Academy of International Ballet with Denis Gronostayskiy and Anastasia Babayev for 10 years.
Jani has been in about 70 performances throughout her dancing career. She has taken Modern and Jazz dance. Jani said, “I like all types of dancing, but ballet is my favorite.” Two years ago, Jani was invited to perform with the Washington Ballet Studio Company in Washington, D.C. She has been in about 25 of their performances.Started in 1944, the Studio Company emerged from the Washington School of Ballet and is currently directed by Septime Webre. The company focuses on classical ballet training.
Jani shares that she became a part of this company two years ago while performing in a ballet competition in Orlando. She was scouted out during her competition where she was told to take master classes at the studio and she was given a studio contract.Since joining the studio company, Jani said, “Every studio member inspires me every day. I always get inspiration from watching colleagues and it inspires me to work harder and try new things.” Jani also shares that an idol from when she was young was the Russian dancer Svetlana Zakharova.
Being a part of the studio company, Jani said she was most looking forward to the new experience. “I had never been in a studio company. I was looking forward to trying new ballets and dancing with a huge group of dancers. I love being onstage and I look forward to every moment of every day.”
In her third season, Jani and the other dancers in the studio are currently working on “Giselle.”Professional dance has changed Jani’s life in many ways. She said, “It’s very different than when I was a student in Philadelphia because she never stops learning.” Jani shares that she has learned to work more with her core as well as a lot of musicality, counts, choreographers from around the world and new people in and out of the company. Jani said, “There is nothing I regret or will ever regret.” She said that being a professional meant she had to give up going out with her friends because she’d go to ballet after class instead. But she said this was, “never a sacrifice,” as she loves what she does.Before every dance, Jani says she gets a rush. She has very different feelings depending on the ballets and dance. “I become the character in every way possible,” she said, “when I’m onstage, I’m living the stories. I’ve felt many feelings: sad, depressed, excited, nervous, all depending on the character I’m playing.”As a dedicated dancer, Jani works from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday all year round. She stresses, “You can’t take off when it comes to ballet. Two days off feels like a week. It you take too much time off, it’s like starting all over again.” All of this dance work, Jani said, taught her to mature very fast. Choosing her future job at a young age, she said that she had to listen and take criticism and use it to her advantage. “I like to think it made me a stronger person in general, not just in dance,” she said. She shares that the hardest part is trying to perfect a ballet, which takes several rehearsals and practices. After everything, she said, “The ending when you’re onstage is the reward every dancer feels for their hard work.”
Jani’s favorite dance and role to perform has been “The Black Swan.” She has done it many times and each time she loved it.
In the future, Jani hopes to become part of the Washington Ballet Company and travel the world. She hopes to meet new dancers and work with different choreographers and directors. Her dream is to perform the whole ballet of “Swan Lake.” She has done certain acts, but never the full ballet.
When Jani isn’t dancing, she enjoys biking, walking around, and hanging out with her friends and family. She shares, “My hobby is my job and I love my job.”(Dielli, October 2013)