Twirling with Elaine Spielberg of BalletMet

How lucky am I? In high school someone shared that it’s all about who you know. I actually hated when they said it because I believed my hard work, drive and passion were the things that would get me far. And of course they have been driving forces in my life but the relationships I have built along my journey have been more powerful. We know I am driven by people. It may be the thing I love the most and I’m most curious about. How did you get where you are? Why do you believe or think the way you do? Why do you do what you do, or not do what you could? It’s that curiosity that has pushed me to learn about all the people I come in contact with. To extend a smile, ask a question, ask someone to meet for coffee, and that is how Elaine twirled into my life.

A few years ago I was twirling in multiple ways and trying to find up from down. Personally spinning but as we know that always creeps into all aspects of life. Where I was as a dance teacher was being questioned in some ways and I started to doubt myself. Did I know what I was doing? Was I capable of giving the dancers what they needed to grow technically and be the best they could be, and so I started taking classes again. As a dancer it is always a safe place, a release, a place you can own and be yourself. I often say the best therapy appointment. I started taking Elaine’s class at BalletMet. I was drawn to her beauty, her kindness, her ability to take a brand new student and push them into grace and technique. I always loved that she got her point across in such a kind way. She once asked I turn out more, and I replied I’m old I can’t. She said “no your’e being lazy”. WHOA! point taken.

I was so aligned in what type of teacher she was, it was all the things I wanted to be. I asked her if she had time to take me under her wing and mentor me. We met for coffee, she read my barre work, gave feedback, pushed me to think differently. She helped me create a ballet pedagogy for the dance studio and she even came to teach the students at PDC. This gave her a clear picture of what I was doing well and what I could become better at.

At the time I met Elaine I needed someone like that in my life. To remind me that I did know what I was doing and that I could learn more. She taught me I could push the dancers and push myself. She was a gift then and is now. I am so lucky to call her my mentor and friend.

I sat down and zoomed with Elaine to talk all things ballet. Her story, her why, and her journey. We forget when looking at those amazing, beautiful ballerinas on stage what it took to get there. She has some great advice on class, taking care of yourself, creating a plan and going professional. I hope you love her as much as I do… and feel her warmth and kindness through the screen…..

I challenge you to listen, to learn, to work hard in class and to begin to meet new people. Not only to build your network, but to meet amazing new friends that will push you to all the best places of who you are meant to be. xxx Kelli

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