Ballerina Profile: Christina Han

image1Meet Christina Han, who returned to ballet after several years. She also is editor-in-chief of Spilt Arts, a nonprofit organization founded to help children from under served locations showcase their talents in literature, art, and photography. Check out the organization’s recent interview with Michaela DePrince on Spilt Arts website!

When did you start doing ballet as an adult?

I started classes the month before my 34th birthday.

Did you ever take lessons as a kid?

I danced ballet, tap, and jazz for almost 20 years as a kid, starting from 4 years old but jeez, that seems like a long time ago now!

Why did you decide to take ballet as an adult?

I’d been thinking about coming back to ballet for a couple of years but the idea seemed daunting because I knew my body wouldn’t be able to do what it used to. But when I decided to go back to school, I knew I needed to do something that helped with discipline and mental acuity. Also, I think a lot of people overlook how physically draining things like all nighters can be. So I bit the bullet and signed up for ballet because it’s all encompassing-mentally and emotionally challenging while being physically rigorous.

Where do you take classes?

I dance once a week at a local dance studio with my teacher Monique, who is empathetic and supportive. She’s also got a crackerjack sense of humor, which is much appreciated when you’re the only adult student in a room full of freakishly flexible ten year olds.

What is your favorite part about ballet?

Oh this is a hard one…ballet makes me appreciate everything my body can do. Instead of focusing on my limitations, I choose to celebrate the seemingly small victories, like balancing a little longer than the week before. Ballet also reminds me not to force things and that sometimes we can’t control a lot of aspects in life so just go with it and see what happens.

What is your least favorite part?

The frustration of not being as flexible as I once was and losing my good feet.

Who/What is your ballet inspiration?

Tanny LeClercq…to be stricken with polio was devastating for anyone but for a woman who lived to dance, that must have been completely terrifying. I’m amazed by her strength of will to overcome her seemingly insurmountable obstacle and reemerge as a teacher and mentor to young dancers. A lot of people might have stayed away from ballet because it would remind them of what they could no longer do, but she faced things head on.

What motivates you to keep dancing?

Working with child abuse and human trafficking victims has been such a rewarding experience. As much as I’d like to say I teach them about life, they teach me more about everything. One thing I feel we owe all our children, is teaching by example. We tell them to be courageous and live their dreams. We should be doing the same. If that means flying planes or starting ballet as adults, then that’s what we need to do.

Do you take any other dance classes?

Sadly, I haven’t had enough time to dance as much as I’d like.

What are your hobbies outside of ballet?

I’m currently learning a seventh language, running a nonprofit, and practicing piano and cello. I’d like to take singing classes at some point because I screech like a cat in heat but I’m not at the point where I can bring myself to torture some poor, unsuspecting voice coach. Maybe later.

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

Don’t be shy. Any day you walk out of the studio without a broken hip is a good one.

Do you have a blog?

www.spiltarts.com

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