Adult Ballerina Profile: Erika Raelyn Covarrubias

10541807_1540483126165819_3310689491129698934_nThis week’s profile is of Erika Raelyn Covarrubias! Check out her blog at bearika-ballerina.blogspot.com!

When did you start doing ballet as an adult?

I was eighteen (spring, 2004).

Did you ever take lessons as a kid?

Sadly, no. I always wanted to though! The closest I got was show choir (5th through 12th grade). I’m sure my flexed-footed pirouettes were just beautiful. haha.

Why did you decide to take ballet as an adult?

I had always dreamed of taking dance classes, and even though I had wanted to be a performer on Broadway (singing,mainly), I had always wanted to take dance classes. Especially ballet.  My first semester of college, my classes were set for me and I didn’t really have a choice in what classes I took (not complaining…it was just two general ed classes), but my second semester, I signed myself up for Ballet 1 and loved it from the start!

Where do you take classes?

The local community college. You can’t really beat two hour-and-a-half classes twice a week for, I think, $12 per unit, and it was a one unit class. I also take the occasional class at the studio I teach at.

What is your favorite part about ballet?

How to choose? I love anything Adage, really. Pirouettes en dehors. Oh, and beat jumps! Though those are Petit Allegro. Also, feeling graceful. I never was graceful until ballet. Feeling more confident. The feeling I get when the music starts and I can just FEEL it.

What is your least favorite part?

Petit Allegro, to an extent. Mostly en pointe. Though I do like beat jumps (entrechat and assemble battu, for example), I just don’t feel as graceful and fluid as I do with Adage. Currently, I’m having pain in my right knee so I have to sit out of jumping combinations, so that’s my least favorite part of class right now.

Who/What is your ballet inspiration?

Another difficult question to answer. Anna Pavlova, for one. Her Dying Swan is still an absolute favorite video to watch. It’s one of the first ballet videos I ever saw. Margot Fonteyn is another I saw so long ago and assisted me in falling in love with ballet. More recent ballerinas I adore are Misty Copeland, Michaela Deprince, and Kathryn Morgan.

What motivates you to keep dancing?

I teach ballet now (and lyrical), so I need to continue to perfect my craft in order to pass it on to my students and give them the best classes I can. Also, being able to gain more flexibility, strength, and maybe someday having a ballerina body (I’m more…full figured). I’d also love to have leads in numbers at the college (I take performance classes). I will dance as long as I’m physically able.

Do you take any other dance classes?

As much as possible! I’m currently also taking modern dance ( I love modern), and jazz, on top of taking my ballet class en pointe. I have also taken tap, contemporary, pointe, lyrical, ballroom, Latin ballroom, dance of musical theatre, dance performance, and what was sort of like Bollywood style dance. I basically take as much as I can!

What are your hobbies outside of ballet?

I don’t understand the question. lol. Just kidding. Singing, musical theatre, basically any type of performing, dabbling in art, blogging, reading blogs, spending time with my boyfriend and his toddler (baby ballerina!), working out, spending time with my family, swimming, and spending ridiculous amounts of time online.

What advice would you like to give to those who want to start ballet or have just started?

It’s a lot to try to remember at first, but I promise, it’s all worth it! You’re basically learning a new language and telling it to your body. It’s wonderful when you realize your muscles have their own memory as well, but keep pushing further and further, but also make sure to listen to your body. Ballet is beautiful and there is nothing like it. Take notes and pictures and look back later and see how far you’ve come!

Anything else you’d like to add?

I started teaching in February of 2014. I am absolutely loving choreographing and teaching. I get to pass on this knowledge I’ve gotten from amazing teachers I wouldn’t trade for anything. I’m lucky to have them.

Photo courtesy of Ginger Snaps Photography

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