Category Archives: Eminent

Replying to Comments

So I’ve gotten a comment which I feel I can’t properly reply in more comments. So here we go.

Mr. Jackson: “I’m also curious about what you took away from seeing what you could of the ‘post secondary world’ through Jamie’s sisters, as well as your own observations for the day. What are you excited about for yourself, looking a few years ahead: are there aspects of campus life (or post secondary in general) that you’re curious/excited/apprehensive about? What prompted these thoughts for you, either on the trip, or before?” -SFU Exploration

After seeing the ‘post secondary world’, I’ve taken away a lot about the life of the student, I guess you could say. I always thought that once I enter that world, my life will basically become new. I’ll stop dancing, spend all my time in the library doing work, stuff like that. Seeing how universities are run changes that idea. I’ll probably always take advantage of the outdoors or study areas over the library and also use areas like the pool and gym for exercise on campus.

Looking ahead, and realizing that this could be me in a few years, definitely provokes new emotions. As I said, I’ve always planned on stopping dance once I graduate, however I’m already on year 11 of 13 then. It makes me sad to think that in three years I won’t be dancing however I’m worried I won’t have enough time. I’m excited about all the clubs and new experiences I’ll find myself encountering. I’m curious about how much time I am going to have and how busy I’ll be. I’m going to need to have a job, get my homework done and keep fit, while still have time for myself. I’m used to having a lot on my plate with the schedule I have now, but how much stuff would be too much, how much would be too little?

These thoughts are sparked by conversations from Katie about how you can spend a whole night doing homework as well as how many people don’t take classes at my studio after graduation. It is started from my own perception of my time as well as my families. My mom already thinks I have too much on my plate; however, if I take on any less, I’ll find myself bored in the calm months.

So that’s a little more information to follow my SFU post. Thanks for the comment!


Over the course of the eminent project, I didn’t use that many sites, however I will give you the ones I used.


Misty Copeland

This website is very good. It has good information on her life and repertoire. It also had great pictures and allowed for contact. I used this website mainly however I paired it with her Wikipedia page to cross check and expand.

Misty Copeland Wikipedia

I used this website along side the site above. I used it mainly for cross referencing facts, however I also learned more about her home life and things that weren’t publicized on her official site.

ESPN Interview

This article helped me to learn a lot about how Misty felt being the only African- American. It gave me a lot of incite to how she viewed things and it brought up items in which I later looked in to.

American Ballet Theatre

This site is the official site of the American Ballet Theatre. I used it to look at the dancers there as well as look into their education and training programs. I used the sub sites within this site.

Pointe Magazine

This article was helpful as it gave incite into some of the hidden exclusions of todays companies. It didn’t really assist me in furthering my project but it was good basis information.

Body Image: Understanding Body Dissatisfaction in Men, Women and Children

While this book didn’t help me with my project per-say, it gave me a lot of basic information on peoples’ perceptions of themselves and how the paradigm within which they live affects how they see themselves.

And Finally Bunheads

This book is a book of fiction, however the author was a professional dancer in the New York Ballet for 9 years. I can imagine that this book is based on things she saw within the company, if not experienced herself. This book sparked inspiration for my project as it should me hidden things that happened within a company and opened my eyes to the fact that body acceptance within companies isn’t necessarily put aside when you get your foot in the door. Also an amazing read for any dancer.

Well those are the main sources I used on this project. Hopefully they help someone.

Night of the Notables: A Night of the Past

Night of the Notables is over! I can’t tell really if I’m happy or sad about this. It was a great night with many memories, laughs and new experiences. There were so many awesome things about the night that I want to share so I think I will…

The evening started with speeches. Now, up until that night, I had no clue if I was excited or nervous. During diner, I was definitely nervous. Backstage, nervous.   The doors opened and I started to buzz with anticipation, either to get on stage or to get off. Then Jamie walked on stage, starting the first speech, and I was excited! I couldn’t wait. And when I went on stage, it wasn’t some blackout speech where I walked off stage saying “What happened?”. I was thinking and present the whole time. It sure will be something I will remember and carry with me for a while.


After all the speeches were done, there was a panic as everyone ran to get to and set up their learning centers. As we ran down the hallway, a mixture of pointe shoes, ski boots, runners and heels clicking on the floor, I could only think about how funny we must all look to a passerby who didn’t know about Night of the Notables. It made me laugh at the thought of a ballerinas, skiers, runners and pioneer looking people all running through the school halls.

The rest of the night past fairly quickly, followed by selfies and polaroid photos before and after closing circle. It was a night to remember.





I’d say that I met all my goals for the year’s project. I was happy with what I learned and was happy with how well my speech went. In future, I would look at information from more sites.

I just want to thank the grade nines for putting this night on and making it so good; I also want to thank all the other tens for being so supportive of everyone and making the night special!

eminent 4

I hope to see all you nines rocking it on stage as tens next year!!!!



Interviewing a dancer

Eminent is in three or so days, I’m a mix of emotions currently! Need to put them all aside temporarily and tell you all about my interview.

For my interview, I contacted my ballet teacher Laurel Cabrita. Ms. Laurel has taught me ballet for the past eight years and it is because of her that my studio has some of the strongest ballet technique from a non-ballet exclusive studio.

Ms. Laurel danced at the Pacific Ballet Theatre for six years. The company stemmed from the studio where she was taught.  Upon joining the company, there were about 12 dancers. Over her six years there, the company never grew bigger than 20 dancers.

This company was very small in comparison to national ballet companies. To add some perspective, the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) where Misty Copeland dances currently has 16 principal dancers, 7 soloists and 59 corps de ballet members.  Because of its size, the Pacific Ballet Theatre’s selection of dancers may be affected less by shape than a national company.

Many companies, especially national companies, tried to aim for a Balanchine body. A Balanchine body has long legs, long arms, a long neck and a short, thin torso. This was mainly to create a look of unison within the dancers, causing no one to stand out in a good, or bad, way.

After talking to Ms. Laurel, I found out that body shape did affect and limit dancers, but not in the way I was expecting. Many of the root reasons for any body limitations were logistical and not aesthetic. Most common body limitations were height, weight, flexibility and ability.

For height, it affected partnering mainly. Going en pointe adds a lot of height to a dancer. Ms. Laurel, who was 5′ 6″, had to partner with males who were at least 5′ 11″ or else she was too tall for them, both aesthetically (with the partnering looking awkward) and logistically (not being able to spin properly because the male can’t keep her upright).

For weight, the two main reasons it limited was the strength of the males and how it affected health. If a dancer has heavy bones and muscles but doesn’t look heavy, she may not be able to be lifted by a male and therefore not able to do a pas de deux. If a dancer is overweight, and the extra weight affects their stamina and cardio vascular ability, then it is going to affect where they are in the company. When Ms. Laurel was in the company she was asked at least two times to lose weight. The directors never enforced it, but she was asked. There was only one girl in the company over the six years that was outright bulimic and anorexic. Some dancers took depositories, to make them go to the washroom, in attempts to lose weight, but it didn’t often last long. Many dancers smoked, sometimes even instead of eating but smoking was more common at the time. Teachers smoked in their classes. Of course, this was almost 35 years ago. Even over Ms. Laurel’s six years, the influence of weight got much better and has continued to get better after that.

Ability is the most limiting of the three, however some ability limitations could be altered slightly. If you aren’t the best turner, you probably won’t do Gamzatti’s variation from La Bayadere, which has saut de chats, double attitude turns and pique turns. Same goes for jumping. If you can’t jump, a jump section will be very difficult. Of course, you can train yourself to improve your jumps or turns. Some limitations you can’t really control is turn-out, flexibility and ankle strength.  Being someone with very little turn-out, I can say steps like en boîtés are very difficult. Variations with high kicks or ponchés would be difficult for people who have limited flexibility. Pointe work isn’t possible for dancers with weak, inflexible ankles or tight or weak Achilles tendons.

Even though all of this is true, ability comes over look. Maybe in a national company, if two dancers have the same technique and quality and only one has a Balanchine body, look will come into play. But if a dancer is amazing at portraying a character, it won’t matter if they don’t fit the image. Quality and technique can allow body image to become less important. Stage presence can help a dancer to go far.

In the end, what the dancer can do is all that really counts.

Document of Learning

Eminent night is a week away as of tomorrow and I couldn’t be more scared excited. Just today, we figured out our speech order. I think I’m 5th,? I can’t really remember. In all honestly though, I can’t wait. One of my IEP goals is to become more confident with my stage presence and public speaking. I feel that this will really help me take a step in the right direction. (Unless I bomb my speech and develop terrible stage fright as a result, but I like to not think that way.)

My project is turning out really well. Something I said I wanted to learn more about is why society cares so much about our look and build. While I didn’t really figure out why society feels that way, I figured out why it matters for dance companies. Your build affects the way you move therefore limiting your options. Examples include weight and height limiting partnering and physical ability limiting steps. I’ll expand on that in my interview post. Your look really only matters if you are trying to get into a really prestigious company, because they have enough dancers that they can aim for unity in look as well as technique.

One thing I am going to have at my learning center is my pointe shoes. One thing I find truly amazing about Misty Copeland is that she was only dancing for three months before going on pointe. I was dancing for 7 years before I went on pointe (of course, I had to also wait to be old enough). I’m going to bring my pointe shoes because it helps to show strength of feet and ankles.

Something I hope to show is how Misty Copeland got so far even though she came from very little money and was African-American. I want to show that with the support of her teachers and the connections they provided, she could succeed. This will probably be most prominent in my speech.

I also want to comment on Nazlie’s project. I recently heard her speech on the woman who runs Rookie. It blew me away. During her speech, she didn’t ever really move, using no body language to aid her, however it worked in her favour. I believe this is because her speech was formed as a letter to her eminent person and letters are not often associated with body movement. She caught my eye because she spoke with such passion in a way that was relatable, and because she was talking about body images and the affects society have on us. This is something, as I mentioned earlier, that I wanted to know more about.

So now I’m going to go read Nazlie’s blog and go discover what Rookie is all about.  If you’ll excuse me…..

Speech Draft

Hi so this is a draft of my eminent speech. It’s at about a minute timed so I want to add more but I don’t know what…. If someone wants to edit and help that would be great!

[Runs on stage, excited]

They want me for Clara in The Chocolate Nutcracker!? I don’t even go to their studio! My teachers must be talking about me more than I thought… Oh I can’t wait! But, I’m not good enough am I? I only started pointe 2 months ago. Heck, I only started dancing 5 months ago. I mean, I know my teachers called me a prodigy when I started but I was taking a free class at the boys and girls club near the motel where I lived! You can’t blame me for not believing them. Plus I’m growing out of the typical ballet body. I guess I kind of need to be African-American to be in the Chocolate Nutcracker but I’m getting too tall, too developed, too muscular looking. Maybe it doesn’t matter as much as I thought. Maybe my teachers are right. Maybe I will go far. I will make it. Maybe a prestigious company will stray from looking for that long legged, long armed, short and thin torso, Caucasian soloist. I mean, I’m good. Plus being African-American won’t keep me out of the corps de ballet, will it?


SFU Exploration

Hey everyone! So on October 30th, we, as a class, went to SFU for the day. We started with a solo spot, super cool, followed with us exploring the Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology. The museum was really interesting and I loved looking at all the aboriginal designs in the things like bentwood boxes. For lunch we went to an Indian


buffet place. The food was really good. Afterwards, we split in to two groups for tours. They were lead by Katie and Zoe Fajber, Jamie’s sisters. The tour was really interesting and it was neat to hear about different parts of the school. We ended the day at the library, where


I got a book called “Body Image: Understanding Body Dissatisfaction in Men, Women and Children.” The library it’s self was super interesting in how it was laid out and organized, as well as a little overwhelming with the sheer amount of books there.

I started the day with a plan to get a book and to bond with classmates. I also wanted to see the campus, especially because I am considering going there. I planned on taking loads of photos for both me and my blog.

Looking back, I learned a lot about universities and the opportunities they provide from both Katie and posters around the


school. I learned a little about university life from a student’s perspective as well. Overall the day was very inspiring in that it opened my eyes to a new world in a way, or at least a different perspective of the world. It gave me a look into the paradigm that is a post-secondary student as well as showed me amazing sights in the architecture and feel of the building itself. In relation to my word from the beginning of grade 9, open, it opened my eyes and mind to a new way of thinking and gave me another mindset to consider when I meet people.

For more photos, check them out in my flickr album.

Eminent Introductory Post: Misty Copeland

misty portraitMisty Copeland is the 3rd ever African-American female soloist at the American Ballet Theatre (ABT).  She has 5 siblings and a mom. Growing up with very little money, she started ballet at 13 at a Girls and Boys club in LA. Instantly, she was marked as a prodigy. In 3 months, she was en pointe. 8 months after starting, Misty performed Clara, the main female in the Nutcracker, with the San Pedro Dance Center. 2 years after starting ballet, she was awarded first place at the Los Angeles Spotlight Awards. As she matured, Misty grew out of the traditional ballet shape. She developed bigger feet, more muscular legs and a larger bust. Despite this, Misty was accepted into the ABT’s corps de ballet at the age of 19. At the age of 24, she was promoted to the rank of soloist. She was the first African-American female soloist in 20 years, and the last African-American male soloist that had been with the company had left the year before. Over the years, Misty has performed many roles including Firebird in The Firebird, Lead Harlot in Romeo and Juliet and the Fairy of Valor in The Sleeping Beauty. At the beginning of this year, Misty became a sponsored athlete with Under Armour. She is now a part of the “I Will What I Want” campaign run by them.

Misty Copeland and I are not the same race or class and whether or not we are of the same religious faith is irrelevant. However, we aremisty c dance both females and we both are ballet dancers (granted she is much, much better than I am). We also have limitations within our genetic make-up that cause difficulty in making it professionally. While hers is her race, mine is my lack of natural turn-out and my bone structure. In the world of professional ballet, women are forced to fit a certain cookie cutter outline or they get cut out. Ballerinas worry about their weight and size, freaking out if they are busty enough to be wearing a bra at 19, 20, up to even 25 or 30. I want to use this project to help me understand why society cares so much about how we look and how we are built.

I know I would never be able to be a professional ballerina. I’m too wide, too busty, too tall, my pelvis naturally tilts forwards, my hips are physically turned in and I have practically no turn-out. On top of that I am naturally very inflexible and have slightly weak feet. Though most of these limitations are things I can’t control, I’m still categorized as not good enough. And though I don’t dance professionally, these limitations come into play in my every day classes to a certain extent.

misty poseAs I said, I want to know why these limitations matter to society and to the world of professionals. I want to use Misty Copeland’s experience as an African-American and someone that comes from a very low class to explore not only why they supposedly matter but how we can beat and escape these cookie cutters set by society.


So eminent is done! On to the next pile of homework….. yay….. Any-who, here is every single website I used for the project: This link saved my life. It was awesome. Written by her grand-daughter, it has so much information on Harriet’s childhood, her school life, the Stratemeyer Syndicate and a lot more. This was my primary source of information.

- This book was very good for getting information on the Stratemeyer Syndicate and on Harriet’s home life. It was also a good source for expanding on basic information. This website was very good at explaining the Stratemeyer Syndicate. It didn’t have much information on Harriet specifically. It had great information on her job though and its origins. This website was one of the first websites I used. It has very little information on Harriet but for starting information, if was very informative for starting facts. I used this a lot to find more specific facts and narrow my search ranges. This website was nice to have as it told me which books were written by the Syndicate as well as when they were written and the pen names they were written under.

So that’s it, not many websites. But still, the websites I have were very good and I feel I got a lot of reliable information. So yay!

Night of the Notables

Yay! How fun! Night of the notables was amazing. Watching the speeches was an awesome experience. I feel that I met my goals for the night and for the project. Though the project didn’t inspire any new stories for me, it definitely inspired me to keep writing, and to write more. I feel like that will be how I will be spending all of Christmas break. Also everyone that I talked to at my center came away knowing that Harriet Adams wrote the Nancy Drew series and not Mildred Benson, which I like to think of as a good accomplishment. With future projects like this, I plan on not waiting as long to finish the project as well as planning out what to say when talking to people.

I think the things I will remember most about that night is walking around filming and seeing all the different learning centers. I will also remember how much my feet hurt after wearing heels all day… not going to do that again.. yeah that was a bad idea… I’ll also remember the panic Max sent me into with the spotlight. Right along side that, I’ll remember how awesome the speeches were. They were absolutely amazing. I really hope that next year us grade nines will compare.

I just want to commend all the committees on their great work. Everyone did a great job! Layout worked really well and yummy, yummy food. Alison, you did an amazing job as project coordinator. Really, everyone did an amazing job and I think if one person hadn’t, Wednesday would not have been so successful.

Well that’s all from me for now. It’s late, I’m tired and I’m heading off to bed. Bye bye!