Reka Gyulai comes to CBC from her native country of Hungary. She received her professional training at the Hungarian Dance Academy in Budapest, Hungary, where she was trained by prominent ballet figures including Imre Dozsa, Zoltan Solymosi, and Mark Diamond. Reka was a finalist at the International Ballet Competition in Vienna in 2004. In 2006, she received the prestigious Elvina Vecsei Prize and a Scholarship of the Republic from the Hungarian Ministry of Education.
Ms. Gyulai has performed with the Hungarian National Ballet, Columbia Classic Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, New Jersey Ballet Company, International Ballet Company, and Dance Alive National Ballet in Florida. She toured extensively with these companies to Russia, Transylvania, Brazil and throughout the United States. Her repertoire includes principal roles in Cinderella, Wizard of Oz, Don Quixote, The Nutcracker, Walpurgis Night, Swan Lake, Phantom of the Opera, and others. She has danced works by Adam Hougland, Edward Liang, Ashley Page, Marcello Angelini, Ma Cong, Kevin Jenkins and Septime Webre.
Reka joined California Ballet as a principal dancer in 2015 and has appeared as the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, in Jared Nelson’s Ruled by Secrecy, Jump Jive, and Bolero, Septime Webre’s Juanita y Alicia and Peter Pan, and will be featured in this season’s upcoming production of Jared Nelson’s Cinderella.
When I’m not dancing I enjoy…
Spending time with my french bulldog Bravo, relaxing in nature, listening to music, going on walks, working out, spending time with friends. I would love to spend time with family but that’s not possible because everyone lives in Hungary. I especially love nice food, movies, and animals. I teach ballet three times a week so I also enjoy teaching my students all the things I’ve learned and helping them improve.
I love San Diego because…
It’s a beautiful place with beautiful weather, lots of places to explore, and many interesting people to meet. I’m glad that we have a good company growing bigger and better in a city like San Diego.
What ballet or role would you like to dance (and why), but haven’t yet? Ballets I would like to dance that I have not yet are: Giselle and any classic Balanchine pieces, but mostly I’m very interested in exploring in the contemporary and modern world of dance and I’m very excited that we’re doing more works like that.
What is your favorite costume? Why?
I do not really have a favorite costume, there are many that I like! (And there are many that I don’t prefer.)
What’s your perfect day?
It could go many different ways. It could just be a great day at work where I feel great and rehearsals and teaching go well. I tend to have great satisfaction on days when we perform and I feel very happy with my performance, when people let me know of there great experience when watching me dance. As well as a day with friends or family maybe just relaxing or doing something fun.
What can always make you laugh?
Mostly funny people that are close to me (I am very social so I like to spend time with loved ones and friends), as well as funny videos of people and animals.
What is the hardest part about being a dancer?
The everyday work that we put into what we do. The hours of practice as well as taking care of our health constantly so we are able to perform to the best of our abilities as well as maybe just the moments when we are not happy with ourselves. Ballet is so hard and so perfect in a way where being a perfectionist (which I believe I am) makes it hard to let go of things that we don’t like about ourselves. Thankfully with time I have learned to just dance out of love and appreciation and to be thankful for being able to do what we love as a blessing. If I look at it from that point of view it’s more just the physical impact on our bodies.
If I weren’t a dancer, I’d be…
Most likely a musician. I’ve studied the cello for about five years when I was little and I was pretty good at it. I tend to be very musical and I love music. If not a musician of some kind, I believe I would still be in the arts. Or maybe working with animals or therapy because I am very into health.
What has been your most memorable moment as a dancer?
I have many dear memories of my career so far, I cannot point one of them out. I feel I’m still growing and getting more experience with new memories. As I grow and experience more, I can only hope that I’ll have more to give and the more I will be able to receive.
Any pre-performance rituals that are important to you?
Before every performance, I say a little prayer because it calms me down and makes me remember all the things that I’m thankful for in life like family. My faith In God helps me concentrate and relax and just be happy and thankful for all the things that I’m blessed with. The other one is getting into the mindset of being receptive and knowing that we always learn with everything we do. Those things really help me.