Ms. Namita Nayyar: You have glowing skin and gorgeous hair. Do you take some kind of skin treatment to keep it young and glowing and secondly what you do to your hair to make them look so stunning?
Ms. Shelby Elsbree: Thank you! Most of the year I try to be religious about my vitamin intake. I’ll take a multivitamin, a calcium with magnesium supplement, and an omega oil.
During the summer I go off the vitamin regime, as I’m getting more Vitamin D from the sun and nourishment from succulent summer produce. Every now and then I like to put argan oil in my hair to give it a little extra boost. Hairspray tends to ring it out a bit when we’re performing a lot. I try to wear it differently for class/rehearsal each day so as to not encourage consistent stress on parts and ends, etc…
Ms. Namita Nayyar: Advice and motivational words to the inspiring and budding professional ballet dancing girls who all are your fans and shall like to know from you for their climb to ladder of success in the field professional ballet dancing?
Ms. Shelby Elsbree: My advice to the next generation of talent out there would be to stay true to yourself. Dance as long as it makes you feel happy and free to express yourself as the unique package of beauty you’ve been created to share…Don’t compare your path to the careers of others, but instead be inspired that you can and will find your own unique journey to success. Breath. Enjoy.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: Tell us about your memorable experience on being featured at Boston Ballet in Sleeping Beauty ?
Ms. Shelby Elsbree: Sleeping Beauty was the first ballet I performed after joining Boston Ballet. I wasn’t supposed to go on, as they had already finished in-studio rehearsals and were doing full runs on stage as the opening weekend approached. I was cast to learn and understudy a handful of roles I had previously performed during my career with Royal Danish Ballet. All, save one.
Garland Dance is a beautiful, yet intricate piece danced by the corps de ballet during the first act of Sleeping Beauty. It involves several weaving patterns in and out of other dancers, all while holding a wreath (garland) of flowers above your head. It just so happened that this one piece I was most unfamiliar with, was the piece I got thrown into for a dancer who got sick. I had one stage rehearsal before I performed it, and it’s one that I”ll never forget.
I taught myself the entire piece by watching a tape for about 30 minutes before the rehearsal. I said a prayer and went for it. Needles to say, it wasn’t perfect, but I somehow managed to pull it off without hurting anyone, or myself, and gasped loudly at the final pose. The whole company started clapping for me on stage. It was hilarious and humbling…a welcoming way to get thrown into a supportive new family here in Boston.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: Who has been your inspiration and motivation in choosing ballet dancing as your profession ?
Ms. Shelby Elsbree: I’ve had many mentors along the path of my career as a dancer. In fact, I think this is an essential part of pursuing any field, finding someone who’s journey you admire, and are able to learn and grow from. I was first inspired by my first ballet teacher, Mary Elizabeth Mock. I trained under her for 3+ years at the Florida Ballet Arts Academy, and she was a beautiful and balanced role model for me to look up to both as a dancer and a person.
When I moved to NY I acquired many other sources of inspiration, many in New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theater, and eventually abroad as my own career path moved and motivated me. My mother always encouraged and supported my dream of dancing, but she also relieved me of any pressure I might have felt to pursue it professionally. I think having this support, regardless of my decision, was what ultimately fueled me to not give up.
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