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Everybody started somewhere. In the My Journey posts we ask an accomplished athlete / star / thought leader how they got where they are now. We hope their stories will inspire and motivate you.

In this fifty first My Journey post, we had a chat with Isabella who is a Ballerina. We hope you enjoy Isabella 's journey.
Tell us a little bit about yourself :)

I'm 15 years old, and I have lived in San Diego, CA my whole life. I dance at California Professional Ballet Program. Even though I dance around 20 hours a week, I attend a regular, full time high school (I just finished 9th grade)..

How did you get introduced to ballet and when did ballet get serious?

My cousin danced when she was young and I always wanted to follow in her foot steps. When I was 2, I took my first ballet class and quickly fell in love. UWhen I was in 2nd grade, I started competing in all styles of dance, but ballet has always been my true passion. When I was 12, I switched to a very rigorous all-ballet program and have been training with my teacher Mr. Maxim Tchernychev ever since.

Can you share your biggest challenges ?

I think the time commitment is one of the hardest parts of being a ballet student. I train 20+ hours a week and it is highly discouraged to miss any classes. It's hard when I get invited to parties I know I will have to miss or when I can't hang out with my friends. Sometimes I wish I could do the things all teenagers do, but when I get to ballet class, it's all worth it.

How do you handle pressure and where do you find your motivation?

I'm a perfectionist and I put a lot of pressure on myself. Sometimes I forget that I'm a student and I'm still learning. Even when I feel discouraged, the other students in my class can always motivate me to keep going, and of course my favorite ballerinas, Svetlana Zakharova and Diana Vishneva, provide me with inspiration.

What was your most embarrassing moment (in regards to ballet, of course) ?

When I was 13, I had the honor being Clara in the San Diego Ballet company's performance of "The Nutcracker." I was so excited to have gotten the role, and I guess I got a little to carried away with embodying the character. Once I finished one of my solos, I ran towards the wings full of company members and straight into one of the lights. I tripped over it and it slid across the floor. Everyone laughed and the light had to be readjusted. It was pretty embarrassing.

How did ballet influence your life in other ways?

Through ballet, I have met some of my very best friends, and I think that due to our similar passions, we all are extra close. Also, I think ballet has made me hard workoing. If I want a career in a field as competitive as ballet, I have to work really, really hard everyday.

What does your typical day look like?

I wake up. around 6:45 am. Then I get ready and go to school until around 2:00. I come home, do homework, and get ready for ballet. I leave at 3:30 and meet my carpool and then we drive down to the studio (California Professional Ballet Program) for 4:30 class. Sometimes it's earlier depending on whether or not I have a private lesson. Class goes until 8:00 and I usually stay after for a little bit to practice my variations.

I get home around 8:45 and start my night routine by icing my feet. I do an ice bucket every night for about 15 minutes. Next I will do some strengthening exercises and some stretching. Finally, I get to relax for a little bit, and I go to bed around 10:00.

And what about your flexibility training ? Where does that fit in ?

I love oversplits. Putting one leg or even both on a chair and hanging out their for around 3 minutes utes each split really makes a difference in flexibility. I have also learned that it is really important to balance out stretching with strengthening. If you have flexibility but no strength, you still won't be able to do all the things you want to do. Try doing a few strengthening exercises before you do oversplits gain strength and warm up you muscles.

What are your future plans/goals/dreams?

In the near future, I will be attending World Ballet Competition, and I hope to do well there. My long term goals are to join a professional ballet company and I dream of dancing in Europe at maybe the Paris Opera Ballet or Royal Ballet in England. I pray every night that I will have the honor of becoming a principle dancer with a big company..

Any tips for passionate people who are starting to practice ballet now?

Work hard. If you feel like your leg is going to fall off, hold it one second longer. If you think you are in the best plié possible, go a little deeper. I strong work ethic is the most important thing any dancer can have.

Anything else?

Just a note: I would like for you guys to use any of the pictures on my instagram

Anything you’d like to share?

@bellla.balllerina on instagram

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  • Author Image
    Angelina Posted November 09 2017

    Beautiful photos!!!!! :)

  • Author Image
    Jenny Posted November 10 2017

    Fascinating! I could never train 20+ hours a week...


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