Feature: Ballet / Pointe - General

Get The Pointe # 33 -- Meet Alinaismyidol!
By AlwaysOnStagePremium member
On Tue Jun 16, 2009 11:07 AM
Edited by webheadmaster (251) on 2009-06-16 11:31:39 Make feature

Meet Alinaismyidol, an 18 year old ballet dancer who has overcome many injuries and stayed dedicated to her art.

DDN Name: Alinaismyidol
Real Name: Emily or ‘Em’
Member Since: 2008
Age: 18
Years Dancing: 16

Image hotlink - 'http://i252.photobucket.com/albums/hh24/balletstar_2008/P1000833.jpg'

Do you take more than one style of dance?
I only take ballet and pointe right now.

What do you like about each style of dance that you study?
For ballet, I enjoy the challenge of reaching for perfection. You can always improve.

Do you prefer classical ballet or modern choreography?
Definitely classical, but I choreograph in the neoclassical ballet style.

Can you expand on why, and if you have any particular ballets or choreographers that embody the style that you prefer. What qualities you like about it?
I think the real reason behind my liking classical is because of the traditions behind it. It's been around for about 300 years but there are still new interpretations of old choreography all the time. In modern there are not as many "rules" to follow, in my opinion, and I like the structured atmosphere of ballet more. I also like the challenge of bringing something new and different to a character. Like Odile for instance, in some interpretations she is just out to get the guy. In others she is just a "white swan" in a black tutu. You have to put your own emotions and feelings into the role to make it yours. For instance, when I preformed Swan Lake last week, I tried to make it quite evil but maintaining Odette's softer arms at points.
I don't really have a favorite classical choreographer from the 19-20th centuries, but my current dance teacher is probably my favorite choreographer at the moment. She just comes up with such new ideas that you would never think of, but still in the classical mode.

What is your dream role and why?
I would love to do Giselle. The range of emotions is so large and the technical side is equally challenging. I love to be able to give the full spectrum of human emotions - from crying/madness to joy. The music is really pretty too!

If someone asked you, "Why Dance?" what would your answer be?
I like trying to show my emotions and joy through my body language. It's something that you don't find many other places. You also have to do a style which is completely un-natural for your body, so it's interesting to see how far I can push myself before my body rebels.


How old were you when you began dance (was ballet your first dance style)?
I was 2 1/2. My mom put me in ballet because I was bouncing off the walls.

Did your parents make you start dancing?
I wouldn't necessarily say they MADE me start dancing, but they encouraged me.

Was your mom a dancer?
No, I am the only dancer in my family.

Did your mom push you to go further and do better with dance?
No, my parents let me push myself. Although they do encourage me through the tough times, they do not really see dance as a career.

Do you have a favorite ballet-related memory that you can share with us?
Hmmm… Last year I was doing improvisation in the studio and the track "A New Day Has Come" by Celine Dion came on. I was going through a really tough time because my grandma was in the hospital and I was fighting some serious injuries. I just lost myself while dancing and when the song went off, I thought that that is what dancing really means to me - it is pure joy.

Is there an embarrassing ballet-related moment that you'd like to share?
Two years ago I was dancing Snow Queen in the Nutcracker. My partner and I did a prep for a shoulder sit and then I jumped. Either I jumped too hard or he took a step forward, but I landed on the back of his shoulder and fell backwards. He noticed it and grabbed the edge of my tutu. So I was hanging off his back in front of 200 people. I had to do a handstand out of that one. Boy, was my face red!

Will you tell us what roles or performances you have done that were very fun, or very educational?
The most fun I've had during a show was probably this year. I danced without an ankle brace for the first time in 3 years. I knew all my dances and it was just really fun to get into the Odile character, but also be a peasant (We did excepts from Swan Lake and Giselle). The rehearsals for Odile were terrible, but once I got the acting down, it got to be really fun to do something out of character for myself. The most educational performance I've had was probably 3 years ago during my first Snow Queen in the Nutcracker. It was the first time I'd done partnering and it completely opened up a ton of new steps. It also made me more aware of where my body was at all times-which would come in handy in later years.

Image hotlink - 'http://i252.photobucket.com/albums/hh24/balletstar_2008/P1000280.jpg'

Class and Training

Describe a typical day in your life.
Get up around 5:30 (I'm a early bird) eat breakfast around 7, take a shower, go to work, eat lunch, baby-sit or dance, eat dinner, go to bed, repeat.

Which is a bigger priority- academics or dance?
Academics. You can only dance for so long, and then you need another job. Dane is important, but so are those A's!

How much time do you dance during the week?
Right now only about 6 hours a week. It is all my studio offers and because of past injuries I can't dance every day. But this summer I'll be trying to take 12 hours.

Do your parents expect you to help pay for classes?
I don't pay for classes, but I do pay for my pointe shoes and pads. I work at a small cafe and baby-sit.

How do you prepare for class? (i.e. stretching, conditioning, mental techniques, etc.)
I get there half an hour early to stretch. I normally work out my feet, hamstrings, back muscles, inner and outer thighs and neck. If I've had a bad day, I try to ignore that and keep my mind on class.

What part of ballet class is your favorite (barre or center work)?
Definitely center. I feel so much freer because you can do so many more things!

What part of ballet class is the most difficult for you?
Definitely adagio. I don't have very good extensions which makes it difficult-especially sustaining a balance or hold.

What does it mean to you to get corrections in class? What are the most common corrections you get in class?
If I get corrections it means that I am working hard and the teacher is noticing me. The most common corrections I get are that my arms need to straighten -especially during turns. I also need to learn to use my back more.

As a dancer, what do you prefer, critiques or compliments?
Definitely critiques. Compliments are nice, but they do not help push you to be a better dancer. Although I do believe that a dancer needs a good balance of critiques and compliments given to them so they do not get discouraged.

Do you like jumps? If so why? And what is your favorite jump?
I really like to jump. Between the ages of 13 and 15 my physical therapists would not let me jump. Now that I can, I value that even more. My favorite jump is definitely the Kitri jump. It' kind of become my signature jump.

What's your favorite? Adagio or Allegro and why?
Allegro. Adagio is just so slow and controlled. In allegro you can allow yourself to let go a little bit more.

After you've had a bad day, what motivates you to go to your ballet class? Does it lift your spirits?
I love seeing my friends and having that feeling of elation while dancing. I've gone to class with a migraine before and left class with no headache. Dance is the best pain med I've found - I always feel a lot better after class.

Have you gone to an SI before?
Unfortunately, no. But I do take my studio's classes during the summer.

What sort of things do you do at home that help your dancing?
I stretch on my barres. I also choreograph a lot in my room. I don't really have a lot of room to jump around, so I mainly concentrate on choreography. I challenge myself by making myself memorize combos while I'm improvising choreography.

What ballet step have you constantly worked hard to improve on and what have you done to improve it?
I've really tried to use my arms and back muscles more so my arms don't appear so floppy. During the day I will randomly think about the muscles and seeing if I am holding them correctly. It works wonders!

What's in your dance bag? Can we see a picture?
Image hotlink - 'http://i252.photobucket.com/albums/hh24/balletstar_2008/P1030001.jpg'
Wow, I have a lot of stuff. Leotard, skirt, 3 sets of legwarmers (for my tendonitis), Shacklee --form of icyhot,-- sewing kit, deodorant, Advil/Tylenol, a pair of leather soft shoes, a pair of canvas soft shoes, 2 pair GM pointe shoes, a GM fit kit, 2 pair arch supports, clear nail polish, notebook to write down dances, CD with music for a new ballet I'm working on, pens and random stuff.

What was the biggest obstacle that you encountered in ballet?
My injuries. I've had to take a lot of time off because of them and the emotional roller coaster that accompanied them didn't help either.

What are your current goals in dance?
Consistent quad pirouettes, higher extensions.

What are your future dance goals?
Be a dance teacher and have a special class for mentally needy children, such as Downs syndrome and autistic children.

How many pairs of pointe shoes do you have?
I've decorated most of my shoes and given them away, but I've probably had 20ish pairs lying around. Right now I only have 5.

What is your favorite brand and style of pointe shoes? Why are they your favorite?
GMs are my favorites. I've tried Grishko, Bloch, Capezio, and GM, and GM lasts me the longest. They are also really comfortable.

Image hotlink - 'http://i252.photobucket.com/albums/hh24/balletstar_2008/P1030040.jpg'

What is your preferred type of padding (if any)?
I don't normally wear any padding, but I may wear something on my big toe if it's sore.

How do you break in your pointe shoes? What was the worst method you've ever tried?
I don't break them in - they are just sew and go shoes. I've never intentionally tried to break in shoes. I used to wear shoes out in 1 class so I never bothered to break them in.


What was your first dance performance?
I was 3 and it was basically little girls skipping around the room with scarves.

What is your biggest fear during a performance?
It seems really funny, but jumping into the walls. We dance at our library's theatre so there is not a lot of room. I've jumped into a wall before, resulting in an injury, so it scares the heck out of me. Last year during Nut. rehearsals, for a lift my partner kept walking instead of putting me down. I yelled for him to put me down about 2 feet from the wall. I had a panic attack because I kept re-living me jumping into the wall.

How do you deal with the disappointment of what you feel was a bad performance?
I work harder in class and analyze what I did badly on in the performance so I can do better next time.

When you’re on stage, do you lose yourself in the role? OR are you concentrating on the steps more and overly worried about technique OR do you just say to yourself forget about everything and dance from the 'heart'?
A little bit of everything. I'll try to remember to pointe my toes, but I also try to "turn-out my heart" (Gelsey Kirkland). If I had to pick one, I would say the emotional part. I think the audience responds more to an emotional character than one that points her feet well.

Have you ever been injured dancing? If so, did you take time off or just dance through the pain?
Good grief, I've almost been injured for the past 3 years. Past injuries I've had were, and don't quote me on spelling: shin splints, plantar fasciitis, arthritis, a broken bone in my foot and muscles that never release. Haha, the first 4 were from an incident with a wall too! If you want detailed stories on how I got them and dealt with it, PM me.

What is the best thing about being on stage?
The adrenaline rush and the thought that this is what I love, even though I don't have the body for it.

Philosophical Questions

What sacrifices have you made for ballet?
I haven't had to miss a lot of things since I was home schooled, but scheduling vacations and work schedules has always been hard.

What sacrifices has your family made so that you can dance?[/b
] The money, of course, but also they don't see me a lot because I'm working or dancing. They have also taken me to physical therapy for the past 3 years.

[b]Does dance affect your social life in any way? How? Do your friends understand?

What's a social life? haha. I've never been a huge social person, in fact the only parties I've ever gone to were birthday parties. My friends understand that I dance and they respect that. They make allowances for me just like I make allowance for them.

What have you found to be the most difficult thing about explaining dance to non-dancers?
The fact that ballet is emotionally and physically challenging. Especially the physical part...

Who has impacted your dancing the most? Of what profession is he/she?
My last physical therapist has been amazing. She taught me how to use my muscles differently than I was used to, which helps me dance better. She used to dance at a pre-pro school but had to stop because of scoliosis.

Who is your all time favorite dancer, dead or alive?
Wow, Alina Cojocaru is my idol (see my user name). She brings characters to life, which is something you don't see that much anymore. And her technique is astounding! My second would be Gelsey Kirkland. For the same reasons as above, but I loved how she dissected her characters.

Image hotlink - 'http://www.ballerinagallery.com/pic/coja08.jpg'

If or when you have children in the future, would you want them to take ballet (or dance) classes? If not, why?
I would love for my kids to dance, but I would not make them. It's their lives to live, not mine. I can suggest things, but it is ultimately up to them to decide what they want to do.

What is one tip that you would love to share with other DDNers?
Just because people tell you to give up - don't! I almost did, but now I'm really glad I didn't. When I was 13 two physical therapists told me I would never walk again. Now I'm 18 and can anything I want to except run. Just persevere through everything!

How does it feel to be featured in Get the Pointe?
It's amazing! I feel really honored. Hope everyone liked it!

Image hotlink - 'http://i252.photobucket.com/albums/hh24/balletstar_2008/th_P1030008.jpg'

14 Replies to Get The Pointe # 33 -- Meet Alinaismyidol!

re: Get The Pointe # 33 -- Meet Alinaismyidol!
By smileywomanmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Jun 16, 2009 06:17 PM
AlwaysOnStage and Emily - Great interview!

Emily - I wish you luck on being injury free so you can keep dancing for as long as you wish! :D
re: Get The Pointe # 33 -- Meet Alinaismyidol!
By dancer_kath
On Tue Jun 16, 2009 09:34 PM
just read it------ amazing!!!!
re: Get The Pointe # 33 -- Meet Alinaismyidol!
By returntothesky
On Wed Jun 17, 2009 07:25 PM
that was such an amazing interview...emily, that is wonderful that you were able to come back from all those injuries! you went from being told you might never walk again to doing those kitri jumps...wow =)
re: Get The Pointe # 33 -- Meet Alinaismyidol!
By Armwarmermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Jun 18, 2009 01:03 PM
Emily, I was mesmerised by your dancing in the video! The interview was inspiring.

re: Get The Pointe # 33 -- Meet Alinaismyidol!
By Ballet_Flowermember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Fri Jun 19, 2009 01:53 AM
Great interview :)
re: Get The Pointe # 33 -- Meet Alinaismyidol!
By Alinaismyidolmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Fri Jun 19, 2009 04:43 AM
Thanks everyone! You guys are so sweet! Just clarifying, but that video is from rehearsal. I don't have the one up from the performance. You probably noticed that from the legwarmers and jeans but making sure...
re: Get The Pointe # 33 -- Meet Alinaismyidol!
By MJeanette
On Fri Jun 19, 2009 10:08 AM
Sadly, my computer won't let me see the video. I enjoyed reading the interveiw though. :)
re: Get The Pointe # 33 -- Meet Alinaismyidol!
By mynameisxena
On Fri Jun 19, 2009 04:35 PM
That was wonderful, even for a rehearsal (especially for a rehearsal!) Excellent interview and not only inspirational, but fun to watch, too. Very well done on all fronts! (just as a fun, non critical note, I got a kick out the male dancer in his jeans and sneakers..too real, too cute :))
re: Get The Pointe # 33 -- Meet Alinaismyidol!
By imadancer2member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Thu Jun 25, 2009 04:15 PM
Great interview!

I always love reading!

re: Get The Pointe # 33 -- Meet Alinaismyidol!
By andante
On Sun Jun 28, 2009 05:10 AM
Great questions and an interesting interview! I am impressed by Alinaismyidol's hardworking attitude :)
re: Get The Pointe # 33 -- Meet Alinaismyidol!
By hope23
On Mon Jun 29, 2009 01:45 PM
Great interview. I am so happy that you (Emily) have worked through the injuries, instead of giving up! It is a rare thing now, and I am glad that you persevere. Again, great interview, both of you. :)
re: Get The Pointe # 33 -- Meet Alinaismyidol!
By slonecker_dancemember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Mon Jun 29, 2009 02:32 PM
Wow :).

It takes some serious passion to work through injuries like that!!

Great interview AlwaysonStage and Alinaismyidol!!
re: Get The Pointe # 33 -- Meet Alinaismyidol!
By crazie_clomember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Mon Jul 13, 2009 02:49 PM
your picher is so cool I love dance shoes
re: Get The Pointe # 33 -- Meet Alinaismyidol!
By elle_ballerinamember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Tue Sep 08, 2009 08:04 PM
Great interview! I totally agree with the statement about the feeling of a strutured class in ballet- i love that too!


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