From real life cowgirl to onstage Rodeo – get to know Erica Chipp

Erica and Wes Krukow. Photo by Keith Sutter

Erica in Smuin’s Carmina Burana. Partnered by Wes Krukow. Photo by Keith Sutter


Although born in Australia, Erica Chipp grew up in Gardnerville, Nevada as a little horseback-riding cowgirl who also shared a love of dancing.

Erica as the "cowgirl" in Agnes DeMille's Rodeo. Photo by Karen Bosch

Erica as the “Cowgirl” in Agnes DeMille’s Rodeo. Photo by Karen Bosch


Erica took her first ballet class at age six and continued dancing throughout her childhood. When it became clear that Gardnerville was not the place for a striving professional ballerina, Erica auditioned and was accepted into the renowned Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida, where she moved across the country to train full-time at the young age of fourteen. After graduating from The Harid Conservatory, Erica started her professional career in 2004 when she joined Festival Ballet Providence (FBP) in Rhode Island.




As "Pippi Longstockings" in Collen Cavanaugh's Pippi

As “Pippi Longstockings” in Collen Cavanaugh’s Pippi. Photo by Thomas Nola Rion

During her time at FBP, some of her most memorable roles included “The Cowgirl” in Agnes DeMille’s Rodeo, a “Stepsister” in Viktor Plotnikov’s Cinderella, “Pippi Longstocking” in Colleen Cavanaugh’s Pippi and George Balanchine’s Tarantella. As a guest artist with Sierra Nevada Ballet, directed by Rosine Bena, Erica also danced the principle roles in the full-length ballet’s of Giselle and Coppelia.



Helen Picket's Petal. Photo by Keith Sutter

Erica partnered by Christian Squires in Helen Pickett’s Petal. Photo by Keith Sutter

After six successful seasons with FBP, Erica moved to San Francisco in 2010 to continue her professional career with Smuin Ballet. As a Smuinee, Erica is known for her effortless jumps, onstage charisma and lightning fast tapping. Now entering her fourth season with Smuin Ballet, some of Erica’s favorite roles include Val Caniporoli’s Swipe, Amy Seiwert’s Requiem, Micheal Smuin’s Chants d’Auvergne and No Vivre and Helen Pickett’s Petal.



The adorable Tequilla!

The adorable Tequila!

When she is not rehearsing or performing Erica is usually found enjoying the outdoors with her dog, Tequila, who she recently rescued and brought back from Mexico. Some of her favorite outdoor activities include hiking, surfing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, biking, kite boarding or simply spending time at the ocean. Travelling is one of Erica’s deepest passions, which has led her to backpack through Europe as well as visit Mexico, New Zealand and Costa Rica. She also enjoys practicing yoga, wine tasting, learning how to cook for her Paleo lifestyle and spending time with good friends and her family.



Ziplining in Costa Rica

Ziplining in Costa Rica

Along with her career in dancing and keeping up with her adventurous side, Erica is working toward her BA, which she is completing through the LEAP program at St. Mary’s College. This winter Erica is very much looking forward to attending their study abroad program, which will take her to Ghana, West Africa where she will live in an African village for two weeks while studying traditional West African dancing, drumming, art and music.


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