Dara Oda-Speiller

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Dara Oda originally from Naperville, Illinois, began her training at the School of DanceWest Ballet under Ricardo and Regina Moyano. She attended the Regional Dance America festival from 2006-2010, where she was awarded cash and program scholarships and received further training from summer programs at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, the Joffrey Ballet, and Texas Ballet Theater. In 2014, Ms. Oda graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Belhaven University. Since joining Texas Ballet Theater, she has enjoyed performing in Ben Stevenson’s Dracula, George Balanchine’s Rubies, Glen Tetley’s Voluntaries and Ohad Naharin’s Mabul duet. She is in her fourth season with Texas Ballet Theater.

Where are you from? Naperville, Illinois

When did you begin dancing? I started taking creative movement at age 3 and never stopped!

Why did you begin dancing? I begged my parents for ballet lessons

When did you join Texas Ballet Theater? After the 2014 Summer Intensive

What is your favorite ballet to see? Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated

What is your favorite ballet to perform/what is your favorite role you have performed? Ben Stevenson’s Dracula and Ohad Naharin’s Minus 16

What surprised you the most about being a professional dancer? How challenging but rewarding this career is. It’s not an easy profession to be in, but I still can’t believe that have my dream job!

What is your favorite TV show?

Friends and LOST

Which member of FRIENDS do you identify with most?

Definitely Monica

What profession other than yours would you like to attempt? Chef or nurse

What’s your guilty pleasure? Moose Tracks ice cream and a glass of red wine

Do you enjoy teaching or choreographing? Yes, both!

What is something you enjoy doing outside of dancing? Movie dates with my husband, making new recipes, and trying out unique restaurants

What outdoor activities do you enjoy? Kayaking, tubing, jetskiing

Do you have a favorite sports team? If so, who? Chicago Blackhawks

What do you want to accomplish after TBT? I’d love to explore more opportunities in contemporary dance and get my Master’s degree

Use one word to describe the feeling after dancing the last performance of The Nutcracker. Accomplished!

What is your favorite meal? Sushi – especially homemade sushi!

What’s one thing you believe is necessary to be a great performer? Versatility and vulnerability