Tell us a little bit about yourself :)
I am half Greek - half German and I was born and raised up in the beautiful sunny Athens in Greece. I have always been into all kinds of activity and sports and I'm in love with every form of art! I studied Dance in the State School of Dance, Architecture and Fashion Design and I'm currently the owner of my own swimwear label! Everything I do, I do it with passion, dedication and love!
How did you get introduced to your ballet?
I was selected to be a part of the national gymnastics team at the age of 5 because of my extreme flexibility. I can still remember how thrilled I was that I could finally use my "unnatural" skills somehow, but my mother refused to enroll me in gymnastics. She knew how difficult it is and how much dedication and time is needed for this and she wanted me to grow up like a regular child who has time to play and enjoy her childhood. So, instead, she enrolled me in ballet. I was too young and couldn't really tell the difference, both ballet and gymnastics looked similar to me. In no time I fell in love with it, I just couldn't have enough!
When did ballet get “serious”?
It became my passion, I dedicated myself to it and since I was around 10 years old I remember having only one aim, to be accepted in the State School of Dance in Athens. It was that feeling of freedom, of strength and the progress that made me better and better and I knew it was a part of me, that without dance I wasn't complete and I wasn't happy. At the same time and because of my talent in drawing, both my teachers at school and my parents encouraged me to apply to Architectural School or Fine Arts. So at the age of 17 right after school I got accepted into both the Architecture School and the State School of Dance.
Can you share your biggest challenges ?
I think my biggest challenge was myself. People think ballet is easy for those with extreme flexibility, but it's not, it is equally difficult. Because of my overextended knees and my very flexible spine it was very hard for me to have balance and find my axis in pirouettes. I had to strengthen my core and I achieved that attending pilates classes.
How do you handle pressure?
My mother is a nutritionist and thus I have always had a balanced diet. She never forbid me to eat anything, she just managed for me to have a balanced weekly menu.
Because of that and because since I was a child I've been hyper active, I have always been very thin and have never had any issues with my shape.The key to everything is balance. If you find the right balance everything will perform great.
Can you share your thoughts on self consciousness?
I have always been very nervous when performing and even more in auditions. I think that I just didn't believe in myself as much as I should have. I thought I wasn't good enough, and I've always thought that everyone else was better than me, and that I would never make it. And, still, at the end, I made it.
Over time I realized that it is not about being better than someone else, or being like somebody else. You have to be the best "you", it's about being better than you were last year, last month, yesterday. If you focus on being the better yourself, you can't fail.
What was your most embarrassing moment (in regards to your ballet of course ;)
Hmmm I can't really recall any major embarrassing moments...I've always been a little "clumsy" and because of my flexible joints, especially my ankles, I've always managed to stumble and fall in the most stupid and hillarious (not for me!) ways. I still do that. A lot...
How did ballet influence your life in other ways?
This is something I say very often: I am who I am today because of ballet. I would be a totally different person if it wasn't for ballet.
Everything in my life, from personality aspects to habits and skills has to do somehow with ballet. My discipline, my obsession with perfection in everything I do, the neatness, the way I move in crowds, or even (this one sounds weird I know but it's so true!) the fact that I always know the position of the cars around me when I'm driving, they are all related to my ballet classes.
Ballet gave me discipline and dedication in everything I do form the smallest to the most important things. I think 40% of who I am today is because of my upbringing and 60% because of ballet. Ballet becomes a part of you. Forever.
What does your daily routine look like ?
I'm no longer a professional ballet dancer, I shifted to fashion design after finishing Architecture and now I design and own my own swimwear line consisting of course mostly of onepieces probably because they are so close to ballet's leotards!
I still attend pilates, ballet and yoga classes every week, and experiment with new things like aerial yoga. I'm a big fan of anything that has to do with fitness, it has become a lifestyle to me.
And what about your flexibility training ? Where does that fit in ?
I have always been extremely flexible and working on it was the most fun part for me!
I still love attending stretching classes! I feel like I need them to free and relax my body. My nightmare has always been this purple thick rubber, I'm not sure it has a name on it's own but you probably know which one I mean... It was impossible for me to work with it! It just knocked me out and I couldn't control it at all. I still refuse to use it!
What keeps you motivated?
Of course I have seen every single movie that has to do with ballet, or dance or sports in general, and have read all the books as well!
The main character of Central Stage movie was my all-time idol when I was a child! I still remember that the day before my audition for the State School of Dance "Step up" movie came out in cinemas and of course I went to the movies to watch it! I fell in love with it, I knew that this was what I wanted to do in my life, I had to become a professional dancer! Next day I had my audition that got me in the State School of Dance!
I follow many accounts of dancers and dance schools on Instagram but my all-time favorite is Misty Copeland (instagram: @mistyinpointe), she's such an inspiring dancer and woman!
What are your future plans/goals/dreams?
My future plans are growing my swimwear business and hopefully soon launch a workout line as well with leotards and tights! :)
Any tips for passionate people starting out ballet or aerial yoga?
Do your own best, don't try to be better than someone else and try to better than you were yesterday.
Stay focused and don't give up. It's won't be easy but it's worth it. Be stubborn about your goals and flexible about your methods.
Anything you’d like to share?
- Instagram: @liziebell