Beginner Ballerina Profile: Jessica Bloxom

10885402_10102013620794694_2683103836041901678_nThis week’s profile is of Jessica Bloxom. Read on to hear why she picked up ballet in December!

When did you start doing ballet as an adult?

I’m 31, and I just started December 2014.

Did you ever take lessons as a kid?

I took ballet, tap, jazz, and gymnastics from ages 4-9. I had to stop because of what a huge commitment dance is.

Why did you decide to take ballet as an adult?

I always regretted stopping dance and got jealous when I saw dancers who were my age and still doing it. I honestly thought it was impossible to start again as an adult, but I googled “adult ballet class” one day and was surprised to find a class down the street from me. It seemed like fate. I read all the articles on this site before going to my first class, so I felt like I wasn’t alone.

Where do you take classes?

The Wilmington Ballet Academy of the Dance. Its in Wilmington, Delaware. My teacher also teaches a beginner class at our YMCA, so I take that once a week.

What is your favorite part about ballet?

All of it! I love wearing pink tights and a leo again. I slept with my ballet slippers the first night I bought them because I was so excited to have slippers again. I love stretching. I love petit allegro and the end of class reverence curtsies. I love how pretty it looks. I love that its in French. Ballet is unique in that you work diligently on all of these little details to perfect them: tucked in, thumbs down, heel presented, chin up etc, and the result is a beautiful without revealing the efforts. I love losing myself in concentration on the details and seeing the results.

What is your least favorite part?

Honestly, the cost. I wish I could afford to take a class every day. I also am not too keen on putting my leg on the bar and plie-ing my supporting leg.

Who/What is your ballet inspiration?

My teacher is inspiring because she started ballet again as an adult when she was 31 also. Again, its fate! My fellow students inspire me so much too.

What motivates you to keep dancing?

My fellow students. When I see one of the more advanced ones practicing double pirouettes or getting better extensions on her grand jete, I just can’t wait to get there! I also want to try en pointe so so so very much.

Do you take any other dance classes?

I took a jazzercise class for a couple years after my son was born, and that made me realize how much I really do love dance. I would really love to try jazz or lyrical.

What are your hobbies outside of ballet?

I am a runner too. I’ve been running since I was 13, and I run races with my husband. We just entered the lottery for the NYC marathon. I teach chemistry and fancy myself to a mad scientist, emphasis on mad. I love cooking and am an avid traveler. I lived in Germany for three years and spent a Summer volunteering with children in South Africa.

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

If you want to do it, do it! There’s no substitution for the way dancing makes you feel! Also, if you just started, be kind and patient with yourself because your classmates should be kind and patient too. I’ve found my classes to be so hugely supportive of everyone who takes this courageous leap and tries a ballet class for the first time. The more the better, and everyone there had their first class horror stories. The more you mess up, the more you can learn. I appreciate hearing other dancers’ corrections too, so even if you’re the weakest link in class, you’re benefiting the class.

Listen While You Workout Campaign

I was given a MacMillan Audio book in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own, not MacMillan’s. I was not otherwise compensated for this review.

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Getting motivated to workout this spring can be difficult. I’ve struggled getting back into running and ballet because of the harsh and cold winters we’ve suffered here. We’ve also had about 15 snowstorms which can make running outside and getting class anything but a walk in the park.

MacMillan Audio recently launched their second annual LISTEN WHILE YOU WORK OUT CAMPAIGNwhich seemed like the perfect way to motivate me to get back into running, stretching and ballet.

I have to admit, I’m not much of an audio book listener. I often find myself distracted by looking at or reading something (or even my own thoughts) while trying to listen to them.  But the audio book I’ve been listening to (Runner by Patrick Lee) has been perfect for holding my attention.  It’s perfect for helping me stretch a little longer (you have to wait until the end of the chapter before you can stop!) and motivating me to do a couple more reps of strength training. As a bonus, it’s been great to keep myself entertained during my 30+ minute commute–I walk and take a train.

Users can participate in MacMillan’s program  by signing up on the website and logging in the amount of minutes that they spent listening to audiobooks that week (there’s samples of audiobooks available, including Runner). Five users will be featured each week and you can join in at anytime until June. (There’s also a contest going on to win a Fitbit Flex if you visit their website.)

I can’t wait until it’s a little bit warmer and I can try running and listening to Runner.

Learn more by visiting http://page.macmillan.com/audio/workout.

Have you ever tried listening to an audio book while working out? 

I was given a MacMillan Audio book in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own, not MacMillan’s. I was not otherwise compensated for this review.

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