Calling all adult ballerinas, runners, and my bloggers!

I’m currently working on a slight re-branding here at Adult Ballerina Project (with hopefully a move to self-hosting this blog in the future–I know, this means more to me as it means I get to customize more). But don’t worry. I’ll still be posting about ballet (and running too). I’m just working on changing my mission statement and layout and re-organizing a bit.

I’m looking for people to interview and profile like I always have been (but I’m opening up to runners, ballerinas, and bloggers) as well as people who are interested in contributing (or guest blogging), whether it be a one time thing or a regular contributor.

Fill out the Google form here and I’ll get back to you with what the next steps will be!

Beginner Ballerina Profile: Carolyn Johnson

This week’s profile is of Carolyn Johnson, who started ballet at the age of 50 for the first time after it was recommended to her to help improve her skating, which is pretty amazing. Check it out!

me6When did you start doing ballet as an adult? 

Age 50.

Did you ever take lessons as a kid?


Why did you decide to take ballet as an adult? 

Won two Adult Figure Skating Competitions at my home rink – ballet was recommended to improve my skating as well as posture and balance.

Where do you take classes? 

New Braunfels, TX

What is your favorite part about ballet? 

Just started classes, but really enjoy the working out of my legs, core and learning control and balance.

What is your least favorite part?

Stares from other adults in the lobby who probably think I’m crazy for starting lessons at 50  😉

Who/What is your ballet inspiration?

Finis Jung

What motivates you to keep dancing?

Just started, but now is the time to embrace life and your passions.  I don’t plan on stopping

Do you take any other dance classes?


What are your hobbies outside of ballet?

Figure Skating and Ice Dance.

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

Put on blinder’s for your critics and enroll today.  Find an instructor that loves ballet so much he/she could teach it to an elephant.

Anything else you’d like to add? 

Thank you for this project!


Beginner Ballerina Profile: Remedial Ballerina

Pink Check out this week’s profile of one of my favorite fellow ballerina bloggers, Remedial Ballerina !

When did you start doing ballet as an adult?

I started taking class in August of 2012.  

Did you ever take lessons as a kid?

Many!  I started taking ballet at age 3, all the way through age 18.  I dabbled in tap and jazz, but ballet was always my favorite.  

Why did you decide to take ballet as an adult?

I was stuck in a rut for a long time.  I gave birth to my daughter, and everything changed in my life.  I put on some weight, my old slight dancer figure was no more, and it really bothered on me.  I tried running, biking, swimming, zumba and weight lifting.  I was interested in all of those things for awhile, but nothing ever stuck.  I needed a way to shape up, increase my strength and give me some release from the daily grind.

Oddly enough (and embarrassing to admit!) I started watching the show Dance Moms, which reminded me how much I loved to dance growing up.  I spent all of my childhood learning ballet, it was a natural transition.  At the age of 26, I decided to take the plunge and join an adult ballet class.  Since the semester started I’ve never missed a class.  I’m actually panicking now trying to locate a studio that offers summer adult classes!  

Where do you take classes?

I take classes at a lovely little studio in the Milwaukee area.  

What is your favorite part about ballet?

My favorite thing about ballet is that everyone is there for the same reason, to improve themselves in some way.  I always felt judged at the gym, never welcome.  Ballet is amazing because everyone is so engrossed in their own technique, nobody has time to watch you make stupid mistakes.  Even better, EVERYONE makes at least one stupid mistake each class, looks ridiculous doing a certain move, etc.  Ballet is non-judging and an amazing way to forget about everything else in your life.

What is your least favorite part?

My least favorite part about ballet is that I gave up dancing, and now I’m playing an intense game of catch-up.

Who/What is your ballet inspiration?

I dont have a favorite dancer, but I’m inspired by my own progress.  It’s been 8 months back at it, and my body has changed dramatically.  I have more to work on, and I see my own improvement week after week.  It’s unlike any other fitness program, sport, or hobby I’ve ever tried. 

What motivates you to keep dancing?

I’ve lost 22 lbs since I re-started ballet in August 2012.  I know that doesn’t sound like that much, but I’ve gone down 2 pant sizes, I’m significantly more toned and only getting healthier every day.  The quest to be healthy and strong is what drives me to pursue dance again. 

Do you take any other dance classes?

I do!  I’m taking lyrical and pointe in addition to technique class. 

What are your hobbies outside of ballet?

I’m motivated by and pretty good at most creative projects I try out.  My favorite hobby aside from ballet is art quilting and fabric collage.  I really enjoy making intricate fabric collages out of tiny pieces of fabric.  Aside from that, I love reading, writing, and playing various instruments

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

DIVE IN!  Don’t worry about trying to lose weight before you join a ballet class.  You’ll melt it off during class.  Ballet is hard, but very physically and mentally gratifying.

One last thing– ALWAYS wear a leotard.  Even if you think you’re not in shape to wear a leotard, ballet involves lots of bending/spinning/jumping, and you’ll want the leotard to keep your midsection covered! 

Anything else you’d like to add?

Ballet has literally changed my life.  It sounds cheesy, but I think it will change yours too.  Try it out!

Black Swan

Beginner Ballerina Profile: Aerialist Sarah Jean Kaye

This week’s profile (well, technically last week’s) is Sarah Jean Kaye, who began taken ballet again after a long break to help her improve for aerials.

20121002-DSC_1246-Edit-2Adult Ballerina Project: When did you start doing ballet as an adult?

Sarah Jean Kaye: I recently started taking class again after a long break of five years off from the ballet barre to improve my line and hip flexors for aerials.

ABP: Did you ever take lessons as a kid?

SJK: I took ballet growing up 2x a week for a few years but by no means was a ballerina. I took jazz and acro at a dance studio that only used ballet as a supplemental training, where is should have been the main focus! I took ballet to help stretch me out but sadly with years of contortion style acrobatics training, I stayed short forever at 5’3.

ABP: Why did you decide to take ballet as an adult?

SJK: I missed the regimen oddly enough. I think because I always idolized ballerinas but knew I never would be one with 90 degree turnout that I wanted the challenge of going back into the classroom. When I was a child training to be a performer, ballet made me always feel negative about myself because I was short legged with a very athletic build, no turnout, and extensions only to 90 degrees. Even though I had a very bendy back, my legs and hips just never went anywhere. It was very disheartening and frustrating. Now as an adult, I am over the fact that I was never going to be a ballerina. Now I realize it makes me a better person for going after the challenge. And it finally makes me feel beautiful when doing it. As a adult ballerina, you are not competing to perform against classmates but all reveling in how it makes you feel.

ABP: Where do you take classes?

SJK: When close to home in Central Jersey I love to take at Princeton Dance & Theater, a studio opened by ABT principal Susan Jaffe & principal ballerina Risa Kaplowitz. They have a studio focused in premiere dancing and follow the American Ballet Theatre’s education and curriculum plan, yet it is so warm and nurturing there. I particularly like to go to the Ailey Extension in NYC and take from Kat Wildish or Finis Jhung. Each absolute masters at their trade, they have perfected the art of teaching adult ballet.

ABP: What is your favorite part about ballet?

SJK: Grand allegro. I am a fabulous leaper!

ABP :What is your least favorite part?

SJK: Probably a combination of left turns and my lack there of turnout. Both are my ballet arch-nemesis!

ABP: Who/What is your ballet inspiration?

SJK: : Marcelo Gomes & Sascha Radetsky have kept me coming back time and time again to see the ballet in NYC. I love the primas but there is something about male dancers that is just captivating, probably because I was such an athletic mover I actually relate more to their movement. But I do always aspire to look like the ladies on pointe! I would love to take pointe!

ABP: What motivates you to keep dancing?

SJK: The challenge to make myself better and be able to say that I didn’t let this conquer me.

ABP: Do you take any other dance classes?

SJK: I like to take a jazz or musical theater class when I can but most of my free class time now goes to aerial classes!

ABP: What are your hobbies outside of ballet?

SJK: Reading, any ridiculous adventure challenge like trampolining, flying trapeze, pole dancing, or indoor rock climbing (I like to say I tried anything once), watching modern family, traveling, seeing broadway shows, makeup, and occasional cap naps.

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

SJK: JUST DO IT! Get over the hump, swallow your pride, allow those days when you are awful, celebrate the days you were amazing, and now there is always someone better and worse the same class as you!

ABP: Anything else you’d like to add?


Core Activation and Pilates

Curso de Instructor de Pilates

Check out this link for Grown Ups at the Barre about core activation and how important it is for ballet dancers.

I completely agree with the author, there is no substitute for actually attending a Pilates class, but like she says, we’re busy adults and it’s not always possible (not to mention, sometimes crazy expensive, and shelling out for ballet classes every week can be enough of a stress on your bank account).

She links to a video on the Five Principles of Pilates as a great starting point for those who can’t make it to a real class.

Do you do workout DVDs?

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