Monday, June 20, 2016

Our Week with a Ballerina

Often when one thinks "ballerina" one evokes an image of a pretty girl in a tutu with lots of bling spinning on her toes. Yes, that is a ballerina but there is so much more. This week we had the opportunity to observe a week of "dance intensive" with our granddaughter. Camille is in the pre-professional program with the Northwest Florida Ballet Company. Although she is gifted with talent, it took discipline, commitment, focus and family support to advance to the level of an accomplished athlete.

Starting dance classes much earlier, Camille's study of classical ballet began in third grade when she enrolled in the Northwest Florida Ballet Academie. She continued her academics and dance studies at the academie through the eighth grade. After school she has taken classes in jazz, modern, contemporary and character.   Her summers have been filled with dance intensives. This past week, while her mother was away, we had the opportunity to observe firsthand the intensity of dance intensives.

Her alarm went off each morning at 7:00 a.m. to prepare for her 8-9 hour day (except on Monday and Thursday when she got out of bed at 6:00 for her 8:00 appointment at the chiropractor.) She will do this every day for the 4-week NFB Dance Intensive (except Saturday when she doesn't have to be there until 10 a.m. And she gets Sunday's off.) She got herself up without any prodding and left with a smile on her face.

That takes a lot of discipline for a 15-year old.

Knowing her body needs fuel to dance 6-7 hours a day, she pays attention to nutrition as she packs her lunch.

Her dance studies include instruction on nutrition and conditioning; in the fall she will be teaching a class on conditioning. Committed to maintaining a healthy body, she eats a nutritious diet and doesn't skip stretching even on those rare weeks when she isn't dancing.
Making Power Balls
So, when she gets home from dance, around 6 or 7 in the evening does she relax with the television or video games? No, she studies English. Why? During the school year Camille attends high school from 7 a.m. To 11: a.m., spending afternoons studying dance at the ballet academie. To have this privilege requires taking an online class each semester. She is finishing freshmen English. To maintain her academic excellence, she must avoid distractions and focus on her studies.

Camille exhibits the discipline of an elite athlete, commitment rarely found in a teenager and focus that exceeds expectation. Still, she would not have been able to reach the pre-professional level without the support of her family. In her early years her parents encouraged and provided the opportunity for her to explore the art of dance. In addition to volunteering with the NFB Company, her mom continues to go the extra miles (literally) to see that she gets to school and dance classes, rehearsals and performances. We were happy we could do the 1 hour plus daily drive for a week so mom could get a much needed break.

NFB Dance Intensive will end on July 1, giving Camille a month of rest and relaxation before starting back to school. Not! She will have a one-week break and then will head to Austin, Texas for a 4-week Dance Intensive with the American Ballet Theater.

Why would a 15-year old give up summers sleeping in, hanging out at the beach with friends and visiting her grandparents? She says it is because "she loves it."

Camille would like to share a recipe for Power Balls, compliments of her Jacksonville Brewer relatives.

She did take a bit of time from her demanding schedule to make a welcome home flag for her mom and for her sister. Alison will be returning home in a couple of weeks from a 3-week trip to Greece where she is doing hands-on marine biology field research off the coast of the Greek island of Samos.

We would like to share a clip of our ballerina in action.
If you are reading this post in your email you will need to go to the website to view the video.

If you find yourselves vacationing in nearby Destin, check the NFB calendar, you may be lucky enough to catch a performance.

With our souls fed with grandparenting, we are now with family in College Station, Texas. 

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