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Following Dreams

“Professional Ballerina”

Taylor: Tell me exactly what a Ballerina does.

Jenna: A Ballerina mainly dances on point shoes and does classical ballet like Swan Lake or the Nutcracker. These days though, ballerinas are also required to do hip hop and sometimes modern dances without point shoes.


Jenna started dancing professionally at the age of 14.

Taylor: What was your first dance class?

Jenna: I did some tumbling in pre-school but that was more “improvised movement”. 

 

Taylor: How long have you been a Ballerina?

Jenna: I was eight when I started ballet and then I was 14 when I started dancing professionally.

 

Taylor: What steps do you have to take to become a Ballerina?

Jenna: You have to train long hours. For me, I see what I want to achieve and just go for it.


Jenna at age 15 ready to perform in the Nutcracker. 

Taylor: You were an apprentice at fourteen years old. What made you decide to do that?

Jenna: When I was 12, I noticed that ballet was becoming quite a passion of mine. I liked going to school and being with my friends, but I was constantly thinking of ballet. A dancer suggested I do independent study which meant that I could dance and do my academics afterwards. That’s when I really decided I was going to be a ballerina.

 

Taylor: Who were your mentors and who encouraged you?

Jenna: In my dance school, we had a company which had two principal dancers that I could not stop watching. They were both really amazing.

 

Taylor:  Besides being a ballerina do you perform any other types of dancing?

Jenna: I trained in modern dance for a while and that kind of dancing was very hard for me. You are so used to standing up straight and tall while doing ballet and then you switch to being more grounded and flexible in modern.

 

Taylor: Where are some of the places that you have traveled to while performing?

Jenna: I have been to every state in the U.S., except for Alaska and Hawaii. I’ve also danced in Paris and the Virgin Islands.

 

Taylor: What were some fun things that you remember doing when you were growing up?

Jenna: I was a tom-boy. I had an older brother so I liked doing anything physical. I enjoyed playing basketball, football, and baseball.


Jenna growing up in California.

Taylor: As a girl, do you remember having any peer pressures?

Jenna: I remember when I was around the age of 13 or 14 that my friends and I tried to act like we were 26. I look back on that time and think, why couldn’t I have just have enjoyed being a 14-year-old girl? Looking in magazines at models made me feel like I needed to look better and shape up.

 

Taylor: What kinds of friends did you try to surround yourself with?

Jenna: I changed schools a lot, but I always tried to have a good best friend.

 

Taylor: If there are any girls out there that want to become ballerinas when they grow up, what advice and what schooling do you recommend?

Jenna: Whether you want to be a pianist, a dolphin trainer or something else, ask yourself if this is really something you want to do.  Then look at your mentors or heroes and decide what you want to learn from their technique. You also need to look at them as a person.  Something very important to remember is to be extremely patient and not take everything so personally when someone is trying to help you..

 

Taylor: You are going to speak to girls everywhere through girlzlikeme.com. Do you have any encouragement for them?

Jenna: Stay true to yourself and try to focus on the positive things in life! 

   


Click to play a "shout out" from Jenna

 


 

 


 
 
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