Tracy Jones joined Colorado Ballet during the 2012-’13 season. In 2013, the native of Ireland was named one of Pointe magazine’s ten corps de ballet dancers to watch. She is certainly an eye-catcher on the stage, with flawless technique and a flair that ensures she will have a lengthy career in classical ballet. But she's busy off-stage, too: In her limited spare time, Jones designs and sews her own line of ballet skirts, Tulips by Tracy. Westword recently spoke with the ballerina about her designs, her roles in Colorado Ballet's production of The Nutcracker, which runs through December 24, and how she balances it all.
Westword: What roles are you performing in The Nutcracker? Any favorites?
Tracy Jones: I dance the Doll and Frau (Clara's Mom) in the party scene, a crystal in the snow scene, and either the Spanish, Arabian or Marzipan Divertissement in the second act. I love dancing the Arabian, and I also always enjoy the doll, as it normally gets some laughs from the kids in the audience.
You own your own ballet-skirt business, Tulips by Tracy. What inspired you to start this business?
This business was started when I lived in Spain. I made one for myself, and I got some great feedback and orders from colleagues. Once I felt a little more comfortable making them, I created a website so I would have a platform to sell them. It kind of just took off from there.
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How do you keep up with it during the show?
I actually have it on hold right now. While in an ideal world I would love to be able to do both, executing 28 Nutcracker performances while also making skirts is very difficult! In the past I have kept the store open during these busy times and had some help from friends, but I felt this year that I would rather close it and reopen after the new year so I can put more focus on creating the best product I can make.
Does the skirt business help to distract you and provide another outlet of creative inspiration outside of the ballet studio and rehearsal space?
Definitely. I love branching out away from the studio. It is nice to have other outlets to focus on, and it also helps to prepare for the inevitable in every dancer’s life: when it is time to transition from ballet to the next career. I am so glad that I started Tulips by Tracy. It has had such a positive effect on me as an artist.
Catch Tracy Jones and the rest of the Colorado Ballet dancers in The Nutcracker at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House at the Denver Performing Arts Complex through December 24; tickets range from $30 to $155 coloradoballet.org. See Jones’s handiwork at tulipsbytracy.com.