Real_World_Ballerina: Student, Comedian, Dancer

Ballet and humor? Oh yes. Real_world_ballerina knows how to keep it real!

You may be one of the 15,000 following her on Instagram. Real_world_ballerina (who prefers to go by her Internet handle) is vibrant, full of life, energy and positivity. But she also knows about discipline, focus and the seriousness that is required when studying ballet. Hence, real_world_ballerina was born. The 17-year-old pre-professional ballet student from Orange County, California, has been featured by Pointe Magazine and Dance Spirit for capturing the humor and hard work that lies behind the scenes in the ballet world. Today, she talks with Ballet Shoes & Bobby Pins!

Photo: real_world_ballerina

Hi real_world_ballerina! Tell us a little about yourself. When did you get into dancing?

I've been dancing since I was three. Obviously, then it was more of a hobby, but as I got older, I decided I wanted to be more serious about it. I have appreciation for other styles of dance, but ballet has always been number one for me.

What is your favorite part of dancing?

My favorite part of dancing... That's a tough one! It would probably be the feeling you get when you are completely one with the music on stage. Like you are making music with your movement.

I also love the atmosphere of the ballet world, just the normal everyday stuff; rehearsal, class, and just hanging around! It's such a close knit kind of camaraderie you have with your fellow dancers; they are the only ones who understand the crazy lives we live!

Tell us about your online presence of real_world_ballerina?

I started real_world_ballerina a little less than a year ago. At the time there really wasn't anything out there that properly embodied the tough and, most importantly, funny aspect of ballet life. I had always been a fan of comedy, and started out making funny comics and memes and sending them to my friends. When I got good responses from them, I decided to make the Instagram! At first I didn't really know what I was doing. But eventually my memes got out there and I was happily surprised at how many people could relate to my humor!

What does a "day in your life" look like?

I am in the ballet studio six to seven days a week depending on whether we are rehearsing for a show or not. Generally I wake up, do school work, go to morning ballet class or a private lesson, then go to normal afternoon technique class until 8:30. Somehow I find time to make these real_world_ballerina memes!

Photo: real_world_ballerina meme

What are your dreams for the future?

My dream is to be in a ballet company. I know it's a very competitive and tough career. I try not to stress out about making it or not making it. I am diligent with academics as well, so I always have a backup plan. Also, I'm looking forward to expanding real_world_ballerina with my website coming soon!

What do you hope to bring to followers of real_world_ballerina?

Laughs of course! Sometimes this art is so serious we forget to laugh. Also, I hope my followers take comfort in the fact that they are not alone! It is fun to know that there are other dancers out there who understand the lifestyle. If I can brighten one person's day with my humor my work is done.

What advice do you have for young dancers looking to stand out?

Always work as hard as you can. If you think you've given it your all, give it a little bit more. The only thing more impressive to me than someone who is naturally gifted, is someone who has an irrepressible drive to succeed! Also, never sacrifice your personality. It is tempting to want to be like everyone else in ballet, but don't forget who you are. Uniqueness is important!

What is the best dance advice you've ever been given?

It wasn't given directly to me but Natalia Osipova said this and it really impacted me. She said, "In school, listen to the teacher. In the theatre, listen to yourself. There's nobody but you, finally. Listen to your heart. It will tell you what's interesting for the audience."

We love that! How do you find inspiration for the memes on real_world_ballerina?

My everyday life and the lives of my friends inspire my memes. I think this is why so many people can relate. All of my memes are original and my words. I don't get them from any other dance pages. I draw a lot of my own comics, but I also use popular meme faces from the Internet.

What has it been like for you to see your following grow?

Unreal! I started out having a couple of followers and was ecstatic when I reached 100! My following slowly grew and then I was being featured by Pointe Magazine and Dance Spirit. It all happened so fast after that and now I've reached 15K followers! Principal dancers are reposting my memes and I can't believe they even take the time to read them! Editor's Note: Sara Mearns, a fan of Ballet Shoes & Bobby Pins, recently shared a real_world_ballerina meme. Read her story here!

Here is our favorite meme. We struggle with this daily here!

Photo: real_world_ballerina meme

What is the biggest challenge for you right now?

My biggest challenge is balancing school, ballet, and of course my newly found Instagram career (haha!) This is a big year for me in my ballet training, I've set a lot of goals. As I go away this summer to train, I am hoping to improve as an artist and further my career. But don't worry, I won't forget to post!


Fun Questions:

Your favorite Disney movie: Pocahontas
Your favorite food: Ice cream! Wish I could have it more often!
Your least favorite barre exercise: Adagio, of course! I know it's good for me but... It's so slow!
Your brand of pointe shoes: Grishko 2007... My first pair was this brand. I've tried many other brands but I always come back to these!
Life motto: "Whenever there is an obstacle in my way, always always grande jete!" That's one of my originals!


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