Listen: Ballerina Joy Womack chats with Duncan Robinson on Hope Breakfast.
Outside of a pink tutu, first position and a plie, I confess to knowing very little about ballet.
A weekend away with friends and their daughter, a talented dancer, led to a conversation about faith and ballet. I remember distinctly when Tish, the daughter of my friend, said, “I love your show Duncan, but you never chat to any dancers.”
So, determined to change that I scoured the internet and found Joy Womack – an incredible dancer, and a woman of deep Christian faith.
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Joy is currently the principal dancer for Universal Ballet in Seoul, Korea. Before that, she was a principal dancer at the Kremlin Ballet Theatre of Moscow. She is an extraordinary talent.
At age 15, Joy was accepted to the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, which is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious dance academies in the world and has produced some of the greatest talents in ballet. She was also the first American to graduate from the 250-year-old school.
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Faith Brings Balance to the Intense Competitive World of Dance
Ballet is a complex, political, highly competitive scene, with deep historic allegiances and problems. It’s a world of profound sacrifice and a place where dreams can be made and broken in an instant.
But despite her fair share of heartache and loss, Joy Womack still has an infectious joy in her life; she is a passionate Christian believer. Constantly training to keep her body in peak physical condition, Joy lives a life of sacrifice and dedication. She runs over 10 kilometres every day, training countless hours to stay at the top of her craft.
It’s this same single-minded approach that she brings to her faith.
Where ballet is an obsession of self-discipline, Joy’s faith in Jesus is an opportunity to “love someone else as much as possible”
Joy sees her faith as a counterpoint to dancing. Where ballet is an obsession of self-discipline to prepare one’s body to be at its best, her faith in Jesus is an opportunity to use self-discipline to “love someone else as much as possible.”
In Russia there is a culture of deep Orthodox faith, and within that she finds profound moments where God shows up to provide in extraordinary ways. Joy is passionate about living a life filled with God’s love.
In our chat on Hope Breakfast, we discussed the sacrifices Joy has made for her craft, and the challenges to living out her faith in the context of professional dance. We also talked about faith, the ways God demonstrates his love in her life, and wisdom for coping with failure, doubt and rejection.
Find Joy on Instagram @joy.womack and @projectprima, and on Youtube at Joy Womack