We had the good fortune of connecting with Ariana Gonzalez and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ariana, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I was lucky enough to grow up in a ballet studio. My parents were both professional dancers and teachers, and I spent my entire childhood immersed in ballet and music. I remember watching rehearsals and being so captivated by expressing oneself through movement, to the most beautiful music. I quite literally could not wait to start my ballet training! Nothing makes me feel more alive than performing. I knew from an extremely young age that ballet was my calling and never looked back!

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
What sets me apart from others is I am lucky enough to come from a family of dancers. My parents were both professional dancers and are now the owners and directors of the City Ballet of San Diego, where I was trained as a young dancer and now dance professionally as a principal dancer with the company. Growing up in a ballet family had huge advantages, as my parents obviously knew the business and could always help guide me in the right direction. I would not be where I am without them. My work ethic and deep love of this art form stems from what my parents instilled in me and also everything I was exposed to. Even with all of the help they gave me, ballet is still an immensely challenging career. There are many truly magical aspects of being a dancer, but a life in ballet takes true grit and determination. Feelings of self doubt have constantly plagued me throughout my career, and working through those feelings are quite difficult at times. What keeps me going is how much I truly love to dance and express myself through movement. The feeling of performing is unlike anything I have ever experienced and that is what keeps me pushing everyday. I have learned to lean on the amazing artists I am fortunate enough to call friends and co-workers, and the support we give each other on a daily basis is crucial! If I could give young dancers one piece of advice, it would be to put in the hard work! There is no substitute for it and will always pay off.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love living in San Diego! Every neighborhood is so different and has its own unique charm. I would start in North Park, where I live with my husband, at brunch at one of my neighborhood favorites such as Madison, Parkhouse Eatery or Hanna”s gourmet. I am a huge foodie and am so lucky to have many great restaurants in my neighborhood! Afterwards, I would take my friend on a stroll around North Park, which is so eclectic and has a ton of cool shops. I personally love Pigment and Verbatim books. Then we would go for coffee at Hawthorn coffee house, or Twiggs. Another favorite part of town to see is Little Italy. It’s a neighborhood close to downtown that overlooks the harbor. It’s absolutely stunning! Some of my favorite places to eat there are Monello, Buon Appetito and Barbusa, and Harumamma. I also love grabbing at cocktail Craft and Commerce, Kettner Exchange or False Idol. Little Italy also has a terrific Farmer”s Market every Saturday morning! I would also head down to Ocean Beach for a walk around Newport Ave. There is such a zen vibe in OB, and it’s where the true San Diego locals hangout. I can never be in that area without a stop to Little Lion Cafe. Some of the best food in town! Lastly, you can’t come to San Diego without visiting Coronado. The drive over the Coronado bridge is breathtaking! I love strolling around the beaches of the Hotel Del Coronado. It feels like you are in an old Hollywood film.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My husband, Geoff Gonzalez, has my biggest shoutout! He is the resident choreographer for City Ballet of San Diego, as well as a company dancer. He’s also the company videographer and movie maker while the company is putting on virtual performances during Covid19. He wear so many hats and is the most creative human I know!

Instagram: arianaluciagonzalez
Facebook: Ariana Gonzalez

Image Credits
Carly Topazio Photography Anna Scipione Jaroslav Richters Photography

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.