Facebook Group, Google+ Community and More

Just a quick update today:

Votes for a Facebook Group won by over 50%, so I’ve created that over here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/263303100495958/ The group is closed just to keep spammers out of it. Just hit request to join and I’ll approve you as soon as  I can.

Awhile ago I created a Google+ Community, which is located here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/106149225840826763744.

Feel free to add me personally on either platform (Kristen Gillette).

We’ve had Tweet Chats in the past, and I’m sure we’ll host another. Stay tuned for more info!

 

Beginner Ballerina Profile: Jaime Hughes

jaimeballetAnd beginner ballerina profiles are back! This week’s profile is of Jaime Hughes, who began ballet two years ago by taking private lessons and then followed along in an older girls’ pointe class–talk about dedication!
When did you start doing ballet as an adult?

2 Years ago in January of 2011.

Did you ever take lessons as a kid?

No, but I always wanted to, but there was no money for me to.

Why did you decide to take ballet as an adult?

I always thought that ballet was beautiful and I loved the artistry behind it.  And I think it was one of those things where everyone has it on their bucket list but I finally just said, “hey, I can try that!”  But at the same time, I had NO idea what to expect and I was terrified to go to that first class.  I’ve never been very coordinated, flexible or athletic.  The only thing I had going for me was being thin.  Which doesn’t really mean anything except that I didn’t mind wearing a leotard.. I loved that part actually!  haha.

Where do you take classes?

I started with private lessons at Muncie Ballet in Muncie, Indiana.  There are no adult classes within an hour of me unfortunately.  I took private lessons for about 2 months and then moved into the older girls pointe class and kind of just followed along with them (not en pointe obviously!)  The lovely director of Muncie Ballet knew my financial situation and worked with me so that I could afford to attend classes on top of the 40 minute drive from my house.  Then my hubby and I moved to Marion, Indiana and I found Community School of the Arts which is only 4 minutes from my house!  I’ve been taking ballet with them for a year now.

What is your favorite part about ballet?

I LOVE the discipline. My favorite part is barre.  And barre is all I’m doing currently because I just started my first year teaching art.  I so look forward to going to ballet and focusing.  I can stop thinking about everything that is stressing me out and I can zone out into something beautiful and disciplined.  With each centimeter I gain with my extension, I am filled with joy!  I am having a hard time expressing, in words, how ballet makes me feel!  It’s almost spiritual in a way!  And there is always something to work toward..  There will never be a point in my dancing where there isn’t another goal.  And that makes it so worth it!  I can count on ballet to always challenge me!

What is your least favorite part?

I have a love-hate relationship with center… I have a really hard time learning the steps… It has to be broken down into tiny bite sized pieces for me to “get it”… I remember it took about 30 minutes for me to learn a pas de chat… PATHETIC, I know.  I still can’t spot at all when doing chaines or pirouettes… I’m working on it!  I think I also am frustrated quite often at the limitations of my adult body…

Who/What is your ballet inspiration?

Well, there are quite a few adult ballerinas who I look up to and admire.  I aspire to have as much dedication as those who started late and are now in their 40s and 50s, en pointe and able to do multiple fouettes in a row!  That’s my long term goal!

What motivates you to keep dancing?

The fact that it feels so rewarding… And in my group of friends, it’s MY thing.  It is something I have, that no one else can touch.  (Maybe my control issues are coming out there!  haha)  But really, I feel like I can’t STOP…  I get very sad when thinking about having to take a break for having kids or something.  I hope that I can find a way to never stop doing ballet.

Do you take any other dance classes?

No, but I have thought about attending some zumba classes.

What are your hobbies outside of ballet?

I’m an art teacher.. So that’s pretty much my whole life right now!  But other than that, I LOVE to watch tv shows.. I’m currently on season 3 of Dexter.  I have 2 parrots and 2 lakeland terriers.  I love decorating my home.

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

Don’t be discouraged early on!  It will be hardest at first.  But be aware that an adult body is only capable of so much, so fast.  And that is ok!  It doesn’t mean you can’t achieve whatever it is, it will just take longer and more work.

 

 Do you have a blog?

I do, and I hope to update it more often, unfortunately it’s been a while!  😉
http://homeofhughes.blogspot.com/

#AdultBallerinas Can Dance!

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One of only three photos I’ve ever shared of me dancing.

We put in hours upon hours of dance a week and many of us take 3, 4 or 5 classes a week–yet we rarely share photos or videos of us actually doing it–myself included. That’s part of the reason I request photos of dancers when I interview them, so that readers can put a face to the dancer.

Kudos to those who already share photos AND videos of yourselves dancing, I deeply admire you. But I want to see more. We can encourage others to dance by sharing more and more photos and videos of us dancing, and I’d love to share them all on Adult Ballerina Project to show just how strong the adult ballerina community is!

Here’s how:

Starting Friday, November 29th (the day after Thanksgiving) post your photos and videos of you dancing (ballet or any other form of dance) on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Vine using the hashtag #adultballerinas. Then each Friday until January 3rd, I’ll post a weekly recap of your photos and videos posted throughout the week.

Don’t have a social media account or prefer to e-mail photos? You’ll be able to e-mail photos to adultballerinaproject@gmail.com to participate too!

Not enough incentive yet? Over the next few weeks I’ll be looking for rewards to giveaway to those who participate, but for now I’m still on the hunt for prize ideas–if you have an idea of what would make a great prize or know someone who’d like to donate something for the contest, let me know!

Thank you to http://politefrivolity.blogspot.com/ for sparking the idea!

 

Beginner Ballerina Profile: Judith Villarreal of Chasing Glitter

This week’s profile comes from an adult beginner in South Korea, and runs her own blog about travel, food, style, culture, and event called Chasing Glitter.

ballet1When did you start doing ballet as an adult?

I took my first ballet lesson on Monday of this week. October 28, 2013. It was my first class and I was hesitant to actually walk into the studio, but I’m so glad I walked through the doors and stepped into those ballet slippers. I loved every minute of that class and was genuinely disappointed when the hour was up. I actually snuck in a bit early for my Wednesday class to stretch and watch the previous class. That’s how much I enjoy being in that studio.

Did you ever take lessons as a kid?

When I was little I would tell everyone I wanted to be a ballerina when I grew up, so my sweet mom enrolled me in summer lessons. We didn’t exactly have money to burn when I was a kid, and the cost of lessons, slippers, outfits, and other small expenses became too great of a financial strain. Even though I was sad to leave, I still remember being so happy that I got to spend an entire summer in a pink tutu. I think I might be trying to appease the child in me by taking lessons up almost 17 years later. I still get the same feeling I had as a little girl when I slip on pink tights.

Why did you decide to take ballet as an adult?

To be honest, it was completely random. I moved to South Korea almost 3 months ago, and I’m still getting used to my surroundings. During my free days, I walk aimlessly around town to get a feel for my area. One day as I was walking, I saw a banner for a ballet academy. I had an entire afternoon to kill so I decided to walk in and ask about classes. The instructor didn’t speak a word of English, and my Korean skills are that of a toddler, but it didn’t matter. The moment I saw the studio, my heart was sold. I signed up for classes then and there.

Where do you take classes?

At a studio called Sejong Ballet Academy in Jochiwon, South Korea. The studio is in a small town which is perfect. There are only two other girls in class with me, so the instructor is able to focus on us carefully.

What is your favorite part about ballet?

My favorite part is the leaps. I have never felt stronger than when I’m leaping across the wooden floors of the studio. Each time my leg lifts a bit higher or I land gracefully rather than stomping down, I feel an amazing sense of accomplishment. If I ever felt like I couldn’t do anything outside of the studio, I think going in for a few leaps would instantly change my mind.

What is your least favorite part?

Stretching! I used to be so flexible in high school and college, but now that I’m older, I’m as rigid as they come! It can sometimes discouraging to know I have a long way to go, so I try to stretch as much as I can when I’m at home working or reading.

Who/What is your ballet inspiration?

This is honestly going to sound absurd, so I apologize in advance to serious ballerinas everywhere. I loved the fact that Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis picked up ballet for an entire year to do the movie Black Swan. I understand that they had body doubles, but at 27 and 29 years old they learned enough ballet to do small scenes in the movie themselves. I’m not trying to become the next world famous ballerina. I do it because I have fun and I love it. Knowing that others have picked it up late in life and were successful makes me feel hopeful.

What motivates you to keep dancing?

Knowing that one day I’ll have a better leap or turn than I did today keeps me motivated.

Do you take any other dance classes?

Not at the moment. Once I get settled into Korea a bit more, though, I’d like to pick up salsa or swing.

What are your hobbies outside of ballet?

I love to write. I write daily for my blog, and I hope to tell my readers all about my new experiences in ballet. I’m also currently gearing up for my next Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month). I participated in my first one last year and won. I’ve been looking forward to November all year because of Nanowrimo. The feeling I had when I completed an entire novel in a month was completely indescribable. I can’t wait to feel that again! One more day!

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

Have fun with it! We all want to be better ballerinas. We all want to jump higher, spin faster, and point harder, and we’ll get there if we’re patient. Don’t be hard on yourself on the days when your body refuses to do what you ask it, and always remember to leave class smiling. You’re in ballet because you love it and because you love the feeling you get when twirling in the air. Don’t ever forget that!

Anything else you’d like to add?

Don’t forget to thank your instructor! I thank mine in two different languages daily. I can’t imagine the patience she must have to watch me take baby steps every day. If I were her, I’d probably just lose my patience and twirl away saying “Just do it like this. See? It’s easy!” (Except she’d say it in Korean, and I wouldn’t understand a word.)

Instructors are the nicest and most patient people I’ve ever met.

Do you have a blog?

Yes, I write at www.chasingglitter.com about travel, food, style, culture, and events. Blogging has been my obsession lately. I really hope my passion for writing translates through my website. I even did an entire post on my decision to take ballet lessons here: http://www.chasingglitter.com/blog/2013/10/28/the-black-swan-project

I called it The Black Swan Project. It seemed fitting.

Beginner Ballerina Profile: Joy Wrona

A couple of weeks ago, Joy wrote an amazing blog post here on Adult Ballerina Project that was one of our most well-received posts ever, Plus-Sized Ballet. If you want to learn more about Joy, check out our interview with her below:

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When did you start doing ballet as an adult?

Joy: Two years ago, I lamented to my best friend’s mom (who has been a dance teacher her whole life) that I could not find an adult ballet basics class.  She offered to teach one at her studio if I could recruit more students.  It was usually just me though so after a few months, I thanked her and went on the hunt again.  Didn’t seem right to be taking up that studio time every week.  Last year, I finally found my ballet home and am now taking two classes a week.

Did you ever take lessons as a kid?

Joy:  I remember taking a lesson as a wee tot in a school gym.  Then my middle school gave us weekly ballet classes but we spent more time changing into tights and leotards than actually at the barre.  I also took Irish dance for seven years of my childhood.

Why did you decide to take ballet as an adult?

Joy:  I began losing weight and felt very clumsy and uncoordinated.  I thought ballet would help me find my grace.  But in truth, it has taught that and so very much more.

Where do you take classes?

Joy:  Festival School of Ballet in Buffalo, NY.

What is your favorite part about ballet?

Joy:  The grace – which leads to my second favourite part, strength.  You don’t realize just how STRONG ballet dancers are until you actual start attempting it yourself.  It looks so effortless (and really, isn’t that the point?)

What is your least favorite part?

Joy:  Slow improvement.  This is probably just me but I struggle with basics like a good second position tendu turnout.  Seems like no matter how hard I try, I never seem to get it!  But I keep trying all the same.

Who/What is your ballet inspiration?

Joy:  My ballet inspiration is my best friend’s mom.  She has been dancing and teaching for what seems like forever.  She’s so healthy and vibrant and she is in her 70s!  I want to be like that when I grow up.

What motivates you to keep dancing?

Joy:  My desire to keep fit, mobile and healthy just like my parents.

Do you take any other dance classes?

Joy:  I’ve taken hip hop and zumba but after knee surgery last year, those went by the wayside.  Though I do miss them and want to try them again.  I am also an avid swing dancer with my fiancée.  And it all started with Irish dancing when I was 6.

What are your hobbies outside of ballet?

Joy: Bike riding is a relatively new obsession.  If I can bike there, I’ll do that before I get in my car.  Better for me and the planet!  I’m also very blessed to be an actor with a day job.  I do anywhere from 2-3 shows a year.  I do better with straight plays but I enjoy the occasional musical too.  My dance abilities do me well at auditions.  I always say, I’m actor who can carry a tune and count to 8.

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

Joy:  If you want to do it, don’t give up!  Keep looking until you find that perfect dance studio.  Don’t think after the first class you can’t do it.  You CAN.  It doesn’t come easy, it takes work but that is the point.  But you can do it if you are willing to put the effort in.  I started dancing with FSB in February 2012 and then found I needed knee surgery in May 2012.  I thought for sure I wouldn’t be able to go back.  But I took class Thursday night, had surgery Friday morning and was back at the barre the following Thursday.  Nothing got in my way once I knew just how much I loved ballet.  Don’t let anyone or anything get in the way of doing something you love.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Joy:  Speaking of not letting anyone get in your way – don’t listen to the haters.  Random people on the street feel the need when they see my ballet school tshirt or hoodie, to comment on how I couldn’t be a ballet dancer.  I’m too heavy, I’m too old, whatever.  I’ve had it said to me at the grocery store, in traffic while I’m on my bike, heck even people I know have suggested I might be out of my league with ballet.  DO NOT LISTEN.  Listen to yourself.  I have felt for my entire life that I had a dancer in me.  It took me until I was in my late 30s to truly answer the call and feel good enough to call myself A DANCER.  I’ll be dancing till I die now, no matter what anyone says.

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