Welcome Back and Ballet4Lifer of the month!
Welcome back! We had a break from blogging due to running of our extensive online dance programme! Now we are back; and not just here, but to the in-person classes in the studio as well! We are quite excited. We will now also share our "Ballet4Lifer of the Month" Facebook feature here so many more people can have access. We hope you enjoy.
This month we highlight Elisa Martinig, who was a regular attendee at classes in the studios pre-lockdown, and who then went on to use the online programme to keep herself healthy and well. Her story is an interesting one full of many different life experiences which have enriched her skills, world vision, and awareness.
When did you start dancing? I started dancing at 11. The teacher said I was too old! That was a time when there was no need to be politically correct!
Elisa performing as a youngster
What makes dancing so special to you? Dancing is therapeutic. It helps me to be grounded and forget about problems. It is also very aligned with my dreamy vision of the world…Especially in ballet, there is beauty and harmony, something quite difficult to find in the outside world, especially with the current climate! (Well, beauty is in nature too!)
When did you start with Ballet4Life? I don’t remember exactly; I think it may have been 3 years ago, but probably I was thinking to give it a go for the last ten!
What makes B4l so special for you? The relaxed and friendly atmosphere and the fact that is local, otherwise I would have to travel for two hours to find a ballet class. I like the concept of dancing at every age, and I admire people older than me taking classes. I really appreciated the efforts that were made by Donna and all the teachers during lockdown to offer affordable classes on zoom. That was a great help to keep some mental health sanity!
Do you get to see dance performances regularly? If yes, any favourite companies, dancers, performances you have seen recently? Usually yes, now it has been a long time without going to the theatre. I had tickets booked to see Roberto Bolle in Italy but the show was postponed to 2021! I love Roberto Bolle, because physically he is like a Greek God and this gives him an incredible presence on stage. He s also very friendly and kind, I had the opportunity to exchange few words and get an autograph. Same for Carlos Acosta, I read his biography “No way home” before he made the movie version. A very inspirational story of how dance can change lives. I would recommend to anyone to read it. My favourite ballets are “The Nutcracker” and the “Swan Lake” to watch during Christmas times at the Royal Opera House. I love the “La Fille mal gardée” too, because is light and funny, especially the clog dance.
Since I have seen ballet at the Royal Opera House in London, no other theatre can compete (maybe The Bolshoi I guess, but I haven’t been).
Since I love jazz dance, one of my favourite companies is Alvin Ailey. I have seen the piece “Revelations” at the Sadler’s Well in London. I was dreaming of seeing it since I started dancing. One of my favourite sections of choreography is “Rocka my soul in the bosom of Abraham”, I find it so liberating.
What do your ballet classes do for you? Ballet is my medicine. Both for mental and physical well-being. I don’t like exercising just for the sake of it. Ballet is an ambition to achieve harmony and beautiful lines, so I guess is an ideal and when there is an ideal, I find it easier to put my energy into.
Do you have a favourite Ballet4Life class? Ballet Intermediated/Advanced but I enjoy also going back to basics.
Is there any dance style you wish to study but we do not offer presently? I love old style jazz dance but the music is important. There are jazz classes with commercial/pop music and I don’t enjoy that. Also, I like more focusing on technique that endless choreographies, as my attention span is very limited ☹
Elisa performing as a youngster.
What do/did you do for your “day job?” and/or what were you educated/trained to do as a profession? It’s a long story! I have several qualifications. Firstly, I am a teacher, not really for choice, just because I was suggested to attend the secondary school that provides that qualification in Italy. It was a good choice because I love Psychology, Philosophy and similar subjects. I did teach to children for three years in Italy and for one year in the UK as I got my QTS (Qualified Teacher Status). I enjoyed it; children were calling me “The Artsy Teacher”. Before teaching I went to university and got a Degree in Public Relations, as I love writing and the media world. So, while I was teaching, I was also writing as a contributor for a local newspaper for three years. After that I was qualified to become a member of The Order of Journalist in Italy, that I am still today, and every year I attend CPD courses to maintain my certification. After that experience I moved to London with the aim of improving my English (something ongoing!) and I have never left. Because of the barrier language I worked in Digital Marketing for 13 years but I love writing and telling stories. So, lockdown gave me to courage to start writing in English, first I tested few topics, and then I created The Career Changers online community, a place to share inspirational stories of career change and to discuss the challenges that people may face during their careers, across different industries. https://thecareerchangers.com/
Lastly, my artsy attitude, took me to take two dance related qualifications while working in marketing. One is a Dance Performance Diploma, with a strong focus on Contemporary Dance, I just thought it was nice to have a certification for my after-work dance classes, instead of going to open classes. And then I have a Dance Teacher Diploma, but I don’t really want to say that because I want to feel free to make mistakes and be imperfect! By the way, between all the qualification I got, this was definitely the most challenging, for several reasons.
Do you have any tips for someone wishing to start dance training as an adult?
Just go for it. I think more people should give it a go! Any age, any size, any gender! Out there many people still think that dancing requires certain attributes. If someone told you so, don’t listen, and go to Ballet4Life and try few classes. I think as adults, we may feel very uncomfortable when we can’t do something, but growth happens when we are outside our comfort zone! Also, I would challenge all those ones that think ballet is easy to give it a go! (generally, men lol).
Do you have a favourite part of class/ ballet step you love? I like Grand Allegro, Waltzes and all turns. If I could be more flexible, I would say Grand Jeté, I still enjoy it …
How has Covid-19 changed the way you have dance in your life? I have been dancing in the kitchen for months and I have been saying to people “I did a ballet class in the kitchen”. After returning to the studio last week, I realised how restricted the movements were, but it was still good exercise.
Anything else you would like to add, please feel free to do so.
Life has always ups and downs and it is important to have few things that can be there for us no matter what. As human beings we can’t control many aspects of our lives but we have the power to walk ourselves to a dance class, and that is one step closer to happiness.