Talking Pointes

Nothing Can Really Stop Us Now

This week’s vlog is raw, emotional and honest. The St. Petersburg Ballet Conservatory’s Summer Intensive looked very different this year. Last year, SPBC’s Blue Theater flooded during a severe storm that peeled back the roof of the building. This year, we had a greater challenge and that challenge was the global pandemic, COVID-19.

Our 2019-20 Season ended abruptly on Friday, March 13th, as Florida and our country went into lock-down. We went from preparing for our Spring Performance to taking virtual classes in our homes. I know many of you took SPBC’s Live Classes and I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart. You all gave me a purpose during that time. Knowing that I might be inspiring other dancers who felt the same way I did is what motivated me to keep going. Perception is subjective, but believe me when I tell you that dancing in a lifeless studio and talking to a camera is a lot harder emotionally than you might think.

In the ballet world, summers are usually a time for dancers to focus on their training and meet new people, however this summer included much more. When the summer approached, we knew we had to take extra precautions in order to ensure the health and safety of our dancers and staff. We also knew that the effects of COVID-19 and quarantine would cause both physical and psychological effects that may be bigger than us, but we were more than willing to face the struggle head-on and be there for anyone who needed us.

This summer held many firsts for SPBC and the dancers. It was our first time dancing and performing since quarantine, our first time dancing with masks on, and our first time performing via livestream without a live audience. Nothing about it was easy, but dancers aren’t used to easy anyway…right? Regardless of the struggles and personal setbacks, we stuck together and persevered as we always do.

There are so many important people who made this production happen. Thank you to Brian & Anna Melton, Servy & Allexe Gallardo, Iliana Babadjanova, and our Board of Directors. Thank you to our Season & Summer Sponsors, our Donors, Event Vids, our audience members, the parents and families of the dancers, and last but not least, the dancers themselves. Your commitment and dedication to staying safe and being responsible is what made a 6-Week Summer Intensive and two Livestream Performances possible. Thank you all for giving SPBC a chance and for putting your faith and trust in our program. I met so many talented dancers and each one of you has a story to tell.

Once I realized how unique our experience was, I wanted to document it in hopes to help the dancers who are still in quarantine feel less alone. Everything is temporary and we are more united now than we have ever been. During Theater Week, I interviewed our dancers and asked them about their experiences here. In this vlog, you will hear how SPBC stayed safe this summer, what it was like to dance with masks on, and how it feels to perform via livestream. I hope you enjoy watching this week’s vlog as much as I enjoyed making it. It brings me to tears when I think about how far we’ve come… and to think that this is only the beginning!

This vlog is dedicated to those who lost their lives due to COVID-19, as well as to the dancers who were unable to dance with us this summer. I am sending you all my love and I will be thinking of each and every one of you as SPBC enters its third season tomorrow. You all have a home at SPBC, no matter where you come from.

Just remember, nothing can really stop us now.


Talking Pointes with Servy Gallardo (Part 2/2)

I had the honor of interviewing SPBC’s Artistic Director, Servy Gallardo, for our first vlog! Enjoy part 2/2, where he talks about being a good partner, auditioning, returning from quarantine, and summer intensives!

Being a Good Partner (00:20)
Auditioning Advice (06:50)
Returning from Quarantine (10:13)
Summer Intensives (12:20)

Ballet doesn’t lie. The body doesn’t lie. You need to train all year.

Servy Gallardo, artistic director, St. Petersburg Ballet Conservatory, on best advice for summer auditions

Servy Gallardo (Part 1/2)

I had the honor of interviewing SPBC’s Artistic Director, Servy Gallardo, for our first vlog! Enjoy part 1/2 where he talks about his career, injury prevention methods, and his style of teaching!

About Servy Gallardo (00:36)
From Dancer to Director (03:26)
Injury Prevention & Maintenance (04:53)
The Psychology of Ballet (11:45)
Servy’s Teaching Style (14:13)
Working with All Types of Dancers (18:48)
Learning Every Style (22:09)
Staying Challenged (24:23)

If you are a student, work like a professional and if you are a professional, remain a student!

Servy Gallardo, artistic director, St. Petersburg Ballet Conservatory

Happy Mother’s Day!

SPBC was supposed to hold a Parent Appreciation Day this month. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, we were not able to do so. While many people might not be spending Mother’s Day with their family today, I still think it is important to recognize those who have filled this role in our lives, whether it is a mother or another parental figure. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank the people in our lives who helped make dancing a possibility for many of us.

To all the mothers, parents, grandparents, older siblings, and kind hearted people… thank you. Thank you for spending hours of your lives driving us to classes, rehearsals, performances, competitions, and auditions. Thank you to those who work multiple jobs to help pay for our tuition, fees, costumes, pointe shoes, summer intensives, and physical therapy. Thank you to those who learned how to do a bun and stage makeup because we were too young to do it ourselves. Thank you for attending every performance and telling us how beautiful we danced, regardless of how we think we looked. Thank you for taking photos and videos of us, because even if we don’t like them now, we will appreciate them one day when our kids ask to see them. Thank you those who make our career the center of their world. Thank you to those who wait backstage to help repair costumes or to console an emotional dancer whose “career is over” because they slipped on stage. Thank you for loving us unconditionally, even after we acknowledge how irrational our thoughts were at the time. Most importantly, thank you to those who let us spread our wings, even when holding us close is all they want to do.

If there is a person in your life who does these things, whether it is your mother or someone else, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. Count your blessings. And to all dance teachers, male or female, thank you for being the light in so many dancers’ lives. Thank you for being a parent figure for your students and for being with them through emotional breakdowns. Ballet isn’t an easy career and more often than not, you’re the person they see most often. I think I can speak for the entire dance community when I say that your investment in us doesn’t go unnoticed and even when you don’t think you are, you’re inspiring someone to keep going.

After all that is said and done, please be mindful of those who are struggling today. Some of us may become mothers one day, but some of us may not. Let today inspire us to take care of others, even if we aren’t their mother. Mother’s Day doesn’t look the same for everyone, but for all of the mothers celebrating today, thank you and Happy Mother’s Day. I’m sending all my love to you.


1st vlog Coming This Week!

Join me this week as I sit down with St. Petersburg Ballet Conservatory’s artistic director, Servy Gallardo, to answer questions about him, picking the right companies and intensives to audition for, partnering and body maintenance!

It doesn’t matter who you are. If you have the desire to dance and the willingness to work hard, you can always dance for me.

Servy Gallardo on what type or style of dancer he looks for

Straight to the Pointe

Hi there and welcome to Talking Pointes! You can read about me and my mission here on our website, but today I want to get straight to the pointe.

Happy International Dance Day!!! Today seemed like the perfect opportunity to launch Talking Pointes because the unity in the dance community is what inspired me to create this platform. While it’s easy to focus on what we don’t have during this difficult time, let today be the day you focus on what you do have.

I saw a quote the other day that read, “Rely on your discipline not on your motivation.” There will be days when you don’t feel like dancing, but try to discipline yourself. If you’re feeling down, allow yourself to take a day, but discipline yourself and make sure you really do take a day.

Dancers are not meant to be socially distant and I think we can all agree on that right about now, but let’s look at the positives. Look at how many online classes have been offered during this time. Online classes are practically in our backyard (literally). So take advantage of this time. Try new forms of dance or even new forms of exercise! Take class with a new teacher or with your dream company! The opportunities are endless.

We will be back on the stage together soon, but until then, “grab that countertop” as Servy Gallardo would say. Stay healthy and hang in there!

Until next time,