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The Dancing Vegan: Meet Agnes Muljadi

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By Chere Di Boscio

There’s practically no one else in the whole world that can immediately inspire a jaw dropping sense of amazement in little girls like ballerinas can (ok, maybe princesses, too). And many of us never outgrow that feeling. Especially when the ballerina in question isn’t just gorgeous, graceful and talented, but caring and conscious, too.

Classically trained at the Julia Bourlina Classical Ballet in Studio City, California, Agnes Muljadi is a literally awesome ballerina and social media influencer. Known to her 140k+ followers on Instagram as @artsyagnes, the dancing sensation has lent her talents to more than 130 brands, including vegan and socially responsible ones like TOMS, KIND Snacks and Groceries Apparel, to name a few.

Highly photogenic and passionate about a cruelty free lifestyle, Agnes has attracted a huge fanbase of both dance lovers and devoted vegans. And thanks to her consequently huge social media influence, she was recently featured in Creativ Magazine’s ’15 Women That Wow’.

Here, in this exclusive interview for Eluxe Magazine, Agnes shares her thoughts on classical dancing, conscious consumption, and cultural relevance.

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Ballet dancing is extremely demanding. As a vegan, what do you eat to maintain your energy?

I snack on a lot of veggies and fruits like kale, broccoli, grapefruit, banana and bell peppers. I also make my own “energy” drink from unsweetened almond milk, spirulina, nutritional yeast and flax seeds to give me a protein boost. Essentially I try to follow a whole food diet that’s high in fiber while avoiding soy, gluten and sugar as much as I can.

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Do you eat vegan, or are you fully vegan in your life? If so, how do you manage to find vegan friendly shoes and dance costumes?

I am fully vegan. It’s surprisingly very easy to find ballet shoes and costumes that are vegan. I’ve never liked leather ballet shoes even before I became vegan I’ve always preferred canvas shoes.

Do you use vegan cosmetics when performing and in everyday life? If so, have you got any favourite brands?

Yes I wear vegan makeup on and off stage. My fave brands are 100% Pure and Zuzu Luxe.

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What inspired you to go vegan in the first place?

I actually became vegan mainly for health reasons in the beginning. I was already a vegetarian for a long time and my naturopath recommended me to become vegan in order to heal my fibroids naturally. However my vegan journey has evolved since then, and now I have come to fully embrace the ethics and sustainability of veganism as a lifestyle vs. a diet.

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Tell us a bit about your training regime.

I typically begin my day with a stretch for about 30-40 minutes and another 20 minutes before and after class. I take ballet classes and rehearse 5-6 days a week. I also try to do cross training with yoga, pilates and gyrotonics at least once a week.

How do you think we can ensure ballet remains culturally relevant over time?

This is a very important question. I think while it’s important to preserve the tradition of classical ballet, it is equally important to encourage new modern ballet choreography and music. The conversation about ballet needs to revolve more around how the audience can see the relevance of the art form in comparison to their modern life.

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What are some of your favourite ballets to dance and why?

Don Quixote is my fave ballet of all time. It’s technically very challenging yet it’s so much fun. I find a lot of freedom and spirit in dancing different variations from this ballet. My second favorite ballet is Giselle. It’s such a heartbreaking yet beautiful story.

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What advice would you give to an up and coming dancer?

Know why you want to become a dancer. It’s a very hard profession so there’s no reason to do it other than for the love of the art form. Then be extremely diligent to perfect your technique everyday and use the mirror to transform your physical limitations. Then forget about everything your learn in class and dance your heart out on stage.

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Which other art forms inspire you?

I love modern visual art. I try to visit different museums pretty often to recharge myself and get inspired.

Which person or people making a difference on the planet do you regard highly?

This is going to sound a bit odd but I find that the astronauts from the Apollo missions to be extremely inspiring, particularly Neil Armstrong. I watch their documentaries again and again to remind myself that there is no limit to what we can do as humans.

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You seem to be very active on social media. What benefits do you think it brings to you?

Social media has changed my life in so many unexpected ways. It has provided me with valuable opportunities to collaborate with amazing artists and brands from all over the world. It also has given me a platform to start a dialogue about two things I am passionate about: ballet and the vegan lifestyle.

Any last words?

Not really. I’ve been talking way too much. 🙂

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Images: Lens Crafters, Ballet Zaida, Brienne Michelle, all found at artsyagnes.com

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