Joy Womack is a District-trained 16-year-old ballerina who plays the lead in Prokofiev's "Classical Symphony," part of this weekend's Kennedy Center show "Proteges III," dedicated to the people of Japan.

You have been working as the first American dancer to get a three-year contract at the Moscow Bolshoi Academy. Is it hard being the only American?

It's actually really great now because there are two other Americans, boys, and so we support each other. More and more I find myself learning towards being more Russian than American because I'm there.

Do you want to move back to the District?

I don't know. I love the city, it's a great place to be, but who knows what will happen in the future?

Do you like other types of dance outside ballet?

I love all types of dance, but definitely ballet is my favorite because of the ability to express my emotions and tell a story on stage.

Explain your role in the show.

"Proteges III" ... showcases the young stars of the best ballet school. This year I'm dancing a soloist role -- it's so much fun and I love the music.

What was your most exciting moment professionally?

Definitely performing on the Bolshoi stage.

You are only 16. What do you want to do when you are a grown-up?

I want to be a ballerina! I want to be a principal dancer with a world-class company ... [such as] the Bolshoi Ballet.

You moved to Moscow on your own when you were 15. Was that scary?

It was definitely scary, but I was definitely trusting 100 percent in God.

You are one of nine kids, how did your parents get you to ballet practice?

They are superparents! It was definitely difficult, so in a way it's easier that I was abroad because I take care of myself.

What would you do if not ballet?

That's a really hard question! Either international relations or be a lawyer.

- Caitlin Byrnes