Here’s author Nancy Lorenz’s ballerina profile! Don’t forget to check out her blog!
When did you start doing ballet as an adult?
I went back to ballet seriously four years ago; however, I took classes here and there in California before that as well. (I also ice skated competively in California before I found a good ballet class here. I had done my solid ballet training in New York and New Jersey previously, but after getting married and moving to California, I found little ballet that was accessible in L.A. at the time. So, until I found a good class, I figure skated competively, and did ballet on ice, of course! This kept me in good shape while being an active mom in my child’s life. After my child got older, however, I happened to find a few good ballet schools, and went back seriously to ballet only. Love my schools!
Did you ever take lessons as a kid?
Yes! I started ballet at the local recreation center in Philadelphia when I was four, and then got to take class again at age twelve. A few years later, a move to Jersey made me look for another school. I found a good one, and trained. Later, when I went to New York, I took classes all over Manhattan, but mainly at the American Ballet Theater School’s open level classes. The school closed in 1979, as only company members then were allowed after that, and the school moved a few blocks up more toward Lincoln Center.
Why did you decide to take ballet as an adult?
Because I started serious training too late for a professional career, but wanted to recapture that ability, and try to attain a more elite status. (I am working on that one!) Ballet is not only good for my artist’s soul, but also for health, and keeps me fit for my day job – teaching. I love music, and the combination of ballet’s movement with classical works is a synthesis that thrills me to my very soul. I feel the music, just like Leslie Browne said in the film, The Turning Point. “I feel it!” It’s just there, inside of me, and I have to do ballet to blend with it. It is not a choice. Like most dancers, I have to!
Where do you take classes?
I don’t like to reveal my class locations, being an author/public figure. I also respect the studio(s) and their privacy as well. But, I will say that I take class in a very professional studio with large rooms, gorgeous floors, beautiful barres, and a wonderful live pianist, plus a great teacher who was an elite professional herself. Also, I have great fellow ballet dancer classmates, who support one another. It is always a great experience! And, I am learning a lot!
What is your favorite part about ballet?
There are two parts to this question: watching it and doing it.
Watching it has everything to do with dreaming it. Imagining not only the story, but myself in the roles – Of course, we all do this! The beauty of the productions, which encompass not only the dancers, but the orchestra, set design, costumes, choreography, lighting effects – the magic of theater and the suspension of belief for a few moments in our lives.
Doing it – It is the stardust, the tulle, the performance of art to the music, the dream and the reality of actually getting to do it – Living the dream, and dancing on pointe! As Shakespeare said, “It is such stuff as dreams are made on!”
What is your least favorite part?
The least favorite part is when I lose my strength and stamina. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak and loses fuel. Part of it is being an adult ballerina with energy issues, and also the adult weight of responsibilities, which can drain you emotionally.
Who/What is your ballet inspiration?
I always loved Gelsey Kirkland for her dreaminess and emotional depth, as well as her beautiful technique. I also loved Cynthia Gregory and Natalia Makarova then, as well as Edward Viilella, Peter Martins, Fernando Bujones and of course, Mikhail Baryshnikov on the male side. Currently, I like Natalia Osipova, and Svetlana Zakarova.
8. What motivates you to keep dancing?
I have to! But the opportunities for adult ballerinas today are there, whereas they were not there before. Once that “window of opportunity” closed for a young dancer long ago, there was no turning back. It was housewife, or career woman, or both, but not “ballerina.” Now, fortunately, we can have it all!
Do you take any other dance classes?
In New York, I used to audition for Broadway shows, so I took tap and jazz classes as well as a lot of ballet. I also took voice lessons. Somehow, with my 9-5 or temporary jobs, I managed to pay for them all. It IS expensive living in New York, but I did it. (I am currently working on a theater book as well). Right now, I am taking ballet only, but took some tap and a few jazz classes in the past few years to keep my Broadway dancing “foot” in!
What are your hobbies outside of ballet?
I write books; I am a member of a writing critique group; love watching TV science shows and love reading.
What advice would you like to give to those who want to start ballet or have just started?
I’d say, “Don’t get discouraged, if you can’t do it right away. It takes time, but your body will mold to your demands eventually. Muscle memory will kick in, and you will only get better and better!”
Anything else you’d like to add?
I realize as I write this that ballet has left its mark in every state where I have lived – Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York and California. I have studied in every one of them! My memories of ballet follow me, and have prompted me to write books about ballet. My sequel to The Strength of Ballerinas came out in November entitled, American Ballerina. The tone of the book is a little lighter (and there will be more romance!).
Also, I am so thankful that there is a ballet community out there that supports adults. Childhood dreams and artistic endeavors are sometimes seen as frivolous; however, they are important. An inclination to any art, such as dance or music is innate, and will never go away; therefore, we must act upon it. Dancer/actress Shirley MacLaine writes in her book, Dancing in the Light, that dance is “an art that imprints on the soul. It is with you every moment, even after you give it up.” So true!
Do you have a blog?
Yes, I blog on my website at: www.Nancy-Lorenzauthor.com/blog