Beginner Ballerina Profile: Cynthia of Young Wild & Free

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This week’s profile comes all the way from France:

Cynthia, who runs a blog over on Tumblr at http://alldayandallnight.tumblr.com/, shares why she started ballet at age 24.

When did you start doing ballet as an adult?

I started this year, in September, at age 24.

 Did you ever take lessons as a kid?

No. I would have loved to but my mom was against the idea 🙁 I did rhythmic gymnastics as a kiddo but quit after a few years. I went back to gymnastics (artistic this time) for leisure at age 15 and never stopped. Now I help training the kids and use some time to work on my flexibility.

 Why did you decide to take ballet as an adult?

Last year I took a floor barre class. I thought I would never be able to start ballet so late, so I figured floor barre would be a way to get nearer the ballet world. I was quite anxious but the teacher was really nice, and it seems everyone there had wanted to take ballet classes but didn’t. I wasn’t able to attend it again this year, so I took my courage and asked if I could join a ballet class. The beginner’s class was only for kiddos, but she said I could definitely come to the advanced class. I did; and although the first classes were just a blur, I enjoyed it so much!

Where do you take classes?

I take classes, 2 hours twice a week, at a little studio in my hometown (near Paris, France).

 What is your favorite part about ballet?

(Can I say the male ballet dancers’ butts?) The grace of the dancers. And the costumes! Personally I feel like the hippopotamus in Fantasia but I’m working on it.

What is your least favorite part?

Turning. I really have bad upper/lower body coordination but my head… it doesn’t like to turn. And being behind in classes; the others all have years and years of practice, so sometimes I feel like I don’t belong here.

 Who/What is your ballet inspiration?

Probably my dance teacher. She’s really a great teacher, very nice – and beautiful ! She pushes us to our best. She believed I could perform a variation after only 4 months. And I did. I’m eager to see what we’ll do for the annual gala.

What motivates you to keep dancing?

I simply love it, even though it’s hard sometimes – it’s really a dream come true, so I won’t let it go. And that my dance teacher believes in me. I’m shy and a negative person, so it helps to have someone acknowledging your improvements.

 Do you take any other dance classes?

No. But I’d love to learn other dances (like Irish dance or hula) !

What are your hobbies outside of ballet?

I’m a bookworm. And I love going to the museums. I’m also a student-teacher and would like to teach French abroad.

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

No matter your age, your body shape, your flexibility… you can do it if you want it! What’s important is to do it with passion. Go dancers!

 Anything else you’d like to add?

If you’re willing to understand the basic moves and vocabulary before your first class, or even if you get lost at some point, you can find videos on youtube and stuff in books at the library. And of course, don’t hesitate to tell your dance teacher you didn’t understand.

 Do you have a blog?

Yes: www.alldayandallnight.tumblr.com

I blog about books, rugby, ballet, gymnastics, but mostly silly stuff and personal bits too.

 

Beginner Ballerina Profile: Ida Cathrine Holme Nielson of Wardrobe Philosophy

Ida Cathrine Holme Nielsen runs her own blog on personal style and ballet, which goes surprisingly well together called Wardrobe PhilosophyChloe-flats-vs-pointe-shoes. Make sure you check out her blog and her profile below!

When did you start doing ballet as an adult?

I started taking classes at 23.

Did you ever take lessons as a kid?

Yes, I was very serious about my ballet training until I was 18 and was injured with a stubborn case of tendonitis which forced me to take a five year long break from ballet.

Why did you decide to take ballet as an adult?

I decided to go back to ballet because I realized that it is the perfect work out for me. It suits my body type and aesthetic taste and it even reflects my fashion taste quite well.

Where do you take classes?

In Copenhagen, Denmark.

What is your favorite part about ballet?

My favorite part about ballet is that it gives you a place in kind of an ‘elegant cult’, and you’ll feel absolutely great about yourself while dancing, it also really helps your posture and how you carry yourself. I am also totally up for the amazing leotard wardrobe , pointe shoes and accessories that goes with!

What is your least favorite part?

My least favorite part are the days when nothing seems to work and your balance is completely off no matter what you do.

Who/What is your ballet inspiration?

My ballet inspirations are Evgenia Obraztsova and Marianela Nunez. They are about my height and does an amazing job with what they’ve got!

What motivates you to keep dancing?

I hate to say the perks of being in pointe shoes, but it is definitely a wonderful feeling!

Do you take any other dance classes?

Not currently, but I’m thinking of taking one or two contemporary classes a week next season.

What are your hobbies outside of ballet?

I love film and I’m a huge collector of vintage and antique clothing!

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

Don’t give up! I know it seems like everyone is better than you and your body does not respond well in the beginning and you feel like the lowest of the low in class, but it will pass and the day you feel you are the one to watch in certain exercises is totally worth it!

Anything else you’d like to add?

Once you’ve started ballet it almost gets to be a lifestyle. It comes to influence so many aspects of your life in a good way!

Beginner Ballerina Profile: Karen Merchant of The Brush of an Intention

This week’s profile was nominated by her friend, Michelle, who I interviewed last week. Karen Merchant runs a wonderful blog over on Tumblr called The Brush of Intention. Make sure you check it out and read below to learn more about Karen!

Photo on 2013-06-08 at 11.40 #2

When did you start doing ballet as an adult?

I started in January 2013. 

Did you ever take lessons as a kid?

Nope. Absolutely no dance background. 

Why did you decide to take ballet as an adult?

I was looking for a new hobby and came across a dance studio that offers an 8-week BASICS Beginners workshop so I figured, why not? 

Where do you take classes?

I take classes at the Contemporary School of Ballet Dallas.

What is your favorite part about ballet?

Every time I am at class, I am able to step outside my own busy/stressful life and focus on my own strength, grace, form and flexibility. Its wonderful!

What is your least favorite part?

I hate that class ends after 1.5 hours. I wish I could dance all day long! 

Who/What is your ballet inspiration?

I suppose it would be my instructors-they are amazing! 

What motivates you to keep dancing?

The dream of dancing en pointe. Its the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I also want to learn how to move my body to music and really tell a story; convey an emotion. I want to take what I am feeling-anger, sadness, happiness, hope and create real art. 

Do you take any other dance classes?

Just ballet. I’ve considered taking modern and/or ballroom dancing, but I really just want to focus on only ballet right now. 

What are your hobbies outside of ballet?

I adore yoga as it enables me to find my strength and stability. Sometimes I even call it my “ballet homework”. I also like to run long distances (just completed my first half marathon last year!)

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

Ballet takes a lot of patience, especially as an adult beginner, but if you love it, then stick to it! You will see improvement with time, I already have! 

 

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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Beginner Ballerina Profile: Marlene

Profiles are back this week with a profile of Marlene, a ballet dancer who takes classes at Irene Dance Hub in Centurion after she was never motivated to go to the gym and decided to try ballet instead!
Marlene
When did you start doing ballet as an adult?

Marlene: January 2013.

Did you ever take lessons as a kid?

Marlene: No, never. When I stepped into the ballet class beginning of this year, I was a true “absolute beginner”.

Why did you decide to take ballet as an adult?

Marlene: Well, I desperately needed to start exercising! But I didn’t want to go to a gym – been a member once, but because it bored me and there was no fixed times that I had to go there, I soon quit. At the end of last year, the word “dance” just jumped out everywhere. Mmm, what about starting to dance? I already love music and rhythm, so I just had to start moving with it! 🙂  I hoped that dance classes would be on fixed times during the week, and I knew I probably wouldn’t get bored because there will always be something new to learn. OK then, but where in the world do you get adult dance classes? Uhm, ask Google. And so I found…

Where do you take classes?

Marlene: Irene Dance Hub in Centurion, with passionate dancer Susan Attfield as the owner, and Louina Prinsloo – our no-nonsense, “stop moaning”, teacher 🙂  We love you both!

What is your favorite part about ballet?

Marlene: Believe it or not, when my muscles are shaking and burning – that means something is working! 🙂  Other than that, I love the “jumps” we do.  It is then that I feel freedom.

What is your least favorite part?

Marlene: I hate to miss a class, or when a class ends… more, more!  Also when my mind messes with my feet and arms 😉

Who/What is your ballet inspiration?

Marlene: I love watching Miko Fogarty.  She not only loves ballet, but in the way she dances, she makes sure the audience enjoys it just as much as she does.  One of my favorite videos of her is:

(I just wish there was a better “non-stretched” recording available).

What motivates you to keep dancing?

Marlene: When I get discouraged I watch a few ballet movies on youtube or read the good stuff on the Irene Dance Hub’s facebook page, and soon I’m out of my pit 🙂  Also doing a few plies and easy moves in front of the mirror keeps me going as it helps me to remember that a few months ago I didn’t even know what a plie was, never mind do one!

Do you take any other dance classes?

Marlene: No, not at the moment.

What are your hobbies outside of ballet?

Marlene: Music, books, outdoors, gardening.

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

Marlene: The only dancer you should compare yourself to is the one you used to be.

Marlene is on the far left!

Marlene is on the far left!

Anything else you’d like to add?

Marlene: Thank you for your blog, Kristen.  It is such an encouragement to read about other adult ballet dancers and their experiences.  We need that 🙂

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