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 Ballet4Lifer of the Month- June

Jubilee June, Start of Summer, Longest Day and London is all buzzing and glowing!

We welcome Monique Calmon Grinstein who hails from Brazil and has brought her brawn and brains over to Ballet4Life. Monique is a dedicated, hard-working, analytical dancer who really enjoys the challenges that our Ballet4life classes can deliver. Her rate of improvement is fast and it will be fun to see how much she can absorb and transform and implement into her technique.

Monique in our Class with Special Guest Yosvani Ramos 

Piqué away Monique! 

Hi! I am Monique, 28 years old, from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I arrived in the UK in August last year with my husband. We have been married for a bit over one year and currently live in Chiswick (at walking distance from Ballet4Life studios!).

I started dancing around 12, mostly taking jazz classes. At 15 I decided to finally try ballet, although I had a lot of insecurities about having already “missed my chance”. At that point in Rio, there were no “young adult / adult” beginner ballet classes. My only option was to start with the 8- year- olds, who were very much curious to understand what I was doing there and not with the advanced girls who were my age.

I was really glad to find myself, slowly but surely, progressing. I found ballet to be the perfect balance between rational execution and creative expression, which I really identified with (specially being an Engineer). Over the years, with studies, work and personal situations presenting themselves, I had to often take a long class break - sometimes over a year - but would always try to come back to classes as soon as I could.

In rehearsal for our recent Showcase

A little bit more about myself: I have a degree in Electrical Engineering and a M.Eng. in System Integration. I was in Brazil during the pandemic and saw closely how devastating it was for our country. I was one of the privileged few who, thanks to having a job in Tech, was able to maintain it and work from home. My family was also safe and healthy, and I am so very grateful for that. During Covid, I mostly did not partake in ballet classes (I am terrible at keeping up with Zoom classes, need the in-person vibe to stay motivated). When our country started allowing sports activities, I was able to go back to the ballet studio I was enrolled at, but shortly after my husband was accepted for a PhD position at Imperial College and we moved to the UK. Since January, I have been working as a Software Developer at Accenture UK.

I started with Ballet4Life as soon as I was out of the hotel quarantine and settled in Chiswick. It was a breath of fresh air and one of the first activities I got involved with in the neighborhood. I was glad to discover intermediate and advanced classes for adults, as well as Pointe classes, which I had always struggled with finding, or keeping, as oftentimes I would join a class that would be terminated due to lack of quorum. I found Pointe work to be scary at first, but with resilience and commitment, it was highly rewarding. It is a whole new layer of ballet on top of ballet, like a world of new dance discoveries.

Another rehearsal shot

I am really happy where I am right now in my ballet level. I have fully embraced the mindset of doing this for myself and enjoying the process, so I compare myself much less and focus on learning and experiencing the dance. I have been rather disciplined in attending classes and it has paid off. Also, Bea’s and Jo’s classes are absolutely amazing, it’s always a joy to attend. Next, I have a dream of one day doing a Pas de Deux, so hopefully we can have one such class or workshop at Ballet4Life someday!

For someone wishing to start dance training as an adult, I would recommend focusing on the foundations and getting the foot/leg basics right before trying to synchronize more complex arm positions or sequences. Also, training your ears to the music and being aware of tempo will be of great help in the long run. Last but not least, be bold on centre exercises  and travels, it’s the time to explore movement and get creative. Don’t stop in the middle if you made a mistake, just keep going or try again. That’s how you get there!

Thank you Monique! Have a lovely month everyone.

More images to come- just need to sort out something. Please check back later.

Images: Copyright Ballet4Life, and copyright Monique. 


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