Ballerina Allynne Noelle Bounds to Success
By Erin Magner
Allynne Noelle was lauded for her starring role in 2012’s Swan Lake with the Los Angeles Ballet.
Allynne Noelle, Los Angeles Ballet’s prima ballerina-in-residence, has a story that could have been written for the big screen: rising star ballerina scores a prized gig with The National Ballet of Canada, only to be sent home after a month due to a prior foot injury that prevented her from performing. To her dismay, doctors say she may never be able to dance professionally again.
Luckily this tale had a Hollywood-style plot twist. “I was a tunnel-visioned maniac for about 10 months after surgery and got my dancing back to about 90 percent,” she recalls. As luck would have it, the Los Angeles Ballet needed a dancer partway through its 2011 season; Noelle auditioned and was immediately cast in its production of Giselle. “It was an all-jumping role, and I was terrified,” says Noelle. “But that role was the intense training my foot needed.” Less than a year later, she was making headlines as the ballet’s newest principal dancer, lauded for her Swan Lake and switching gears this season for a much-anticipated program of contemporary Balanchine.
Anyone who knows the tenacious Huntington Beach native wouldn’t be surprised by her comeback. As the 15-year-old daughter of a real estate agent and a former distribution company manager, Noelle eschewed boys and parties for her first pro contract with the now-defunct Los Angeles Classical Ballet. Her big break came as a newcomer to the Miami City Ballet in 2003, when she was asked to fill in for an injured dancer a day before an important premiere—with no prior rehearsal time in the role.
“I’m someone who likes being told I can’t do something and then proving everyone wrong,” says Noelle. “I [performed] with no mistakes, and from there everything spiraled. I became the one everyone counted on… which is why I ended up dancing on my injury for so long.”
Today Noelle is at the stage at which many ballerinas have already burned out or broken down. And though she has no plans to hang up her pointe shoes anytime soon, she’s already started thinking about life after her eventual retirement, spending her few spare hours per week studying for a liberal arts degree at Mount St. Mary’s College (a self-professed “science geek,” she’s particularly interested in medicine).
Add in work developing the Los Angeles Ballet’s outreach program for disadvantaged kids and teaching at the Los Angeles Ballet School in the evenings, and it’s obvious why Noelle doesn’t have much time for outside hobbies—aside from the occasional glass of wine with friends near her Culver City home—or dating. But she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“After my injury, I blamed ballet for a lot of my woes, and for a fleeting moment I wanted to find a new passion to completely replace it,” she says candidly. “Yet I recognized that’s not possible. Ballet is something I’ll need in my life, in some capacity, forever.”
photography by tomas muscionico; hair and makeup by briana nickas