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For those who don’t know this about me: I love to dance. It was my first obsession as a child and I’m not sure I will ever love anything quite the same way. In the past two years I’ve experienced a turning point with ballet that has taken me to higher level of strength and technique, which in turn has boosted my confidence and given me the drive to push myself to be the best I can be. It may seem to some a pointless effort to put a lot of time into training at the age of 28 (reality: I will have no dance career), but it just makes me so happy. I don’t have a desire to be a professional dancer, but I still want to soak up all that I can learn because I love it. And we should all do more of what we love.

Now, I’ve been hesitant to share these ballet photos of myself because, well, when one thinks of a ballet dancer a specific body image comes to mind, and I am far from that… But, I’m putting myself out there because this is such a big part of my life and I feel like I don’t really have the visual “proof” to show you guys, or myself. With dance photos comes criticism, so I just want to state right now that I know I’m not perfect. I can tell you exactly the things that need to be fixed about me technically (and I’m working on them, trust me!), but I’m looking past that and giving myself a minute to be proud of how far I’ve come.

A big huge THANK YOU goes to Abby Hudgins for taking these photos of me. Abby was the catalyst to my turning point with ballet two years ago. Her training has morphed me and started to make everything “click”. She has changed my attitude into “I want to try that,” and “I believe I can do that,” instead of “Yeah, there’s no way that’s happening.” That alone can change your perspective in a learning environment and you get SO MUCH more out of it if you just tell yourself you can do it. It sounds so cheese-ball, but it’s completely true. And I wish I could have had more of that attitude growing up. She’s made me realize the impact of teaching and what a huge difference great teachers have on their students, in any type of classroom.

And I have to say, being in front of the camera for a change was also a learning experience! I research and study posing all of the time, but for some reason as soon as the camera was turned on me, I forgot all of it. ALL of it. Luckily Abby was brilliant and knew to correct my natural tendency to pull my chin in and tighten up my mouth. And holding these dance poses? Not as easy as it looks! You would think I would know this, but I guess I had never thought about it. Silly me! It was actually quite painful at times holding a pose and thinking about a million little things – “Ok, balance, good. Now, is your leg turned out as much as it could be? No. Oh gosh, don’t sink into the pose! Abs, abs! Oh shoot, now my chin is tucked in again!” You get the idea. Not really much different than what goes on in my head during ballet class :).

I’m having a heck of a time with the words to end this post, so I guess I will just say thank you for reading if you’ve made it this far (haha!), and if you can relate to me in anyway, please leave a comment below! :)

December 17, 2012 - 5:13 pm

Amanda Tabor - Jana, you are beautiful and perfect!! :) I love these pictures! I enjoyed reading what you said too, and I agree 100%!

December 17, 2012 - 5:29 pm

Mandi - Thank you for sharing! It’s an inspirational blog post and your photos are beautiful. Some of the best dancers don’t have “dancer’s bodies” stereotypes suck

December 17, 2012 - 5:32 pm

Keidra - Jana, You are such a beautiful person inside and OUT! You inspire me whether you realize it or not. ;) Keep having fun and enjoying what you love!

December 17, 2012 - 6:22 pm

Carol P.Cain - Jana,
You are the epitome of what I believe we should do along life’s journey. Yes, we have to be responsible, make a living, raise a family, look after others or whatever are the “have toos” in our lives. But we must look after ourselves, physically, emotionaly, and spiritually. Following a dream is a way of staying alive. I am 62, I teach a ladies tap class, eldest student is 72, I take an adult ballet class and we perform. I have arthritis plus old injuries not to mention a forgetful mind but the joy I feel as I pursue my art raises me above life’s hurts and doldrums.
Kudos for your courage and beauty.
Your pictures are truely lovely!
A kindred spirit,
Carol P. CAin

December 17, 2012 - 6:29 pm

maribeth - i love this post Jana! you’re so inspiring and you have a beauuutiful body and you should never be ashamed of it :)
proud of you

December 17, 2012 - 8:46 pm

Michelle - I love these photos and your blog post. You look so graceful and beautiful! I’m so proud to call you my friend!

December 17, 2012 - 10:09 pm

janacarsonblog - Thank you so much, Amanda!!

December 17, 2012 - 10:10 pm

janacarsonblog - Mandi, stereotypes do suck :) I really appreciate your comment!

December 17, 2012 - 10:18 pm

janacarsonblog - You are so sweet, Keidra! I can’t even begin to explain how it makes me feel to hear that I inspire you! Thank you for sharing that :)

December 17, 2012 - 10:38 pm

janacarsonblog - Thank you so, so much for this! “Following a dream is a way of staying alive.” I really love that. It is great to hear that the joy you get from dancing is still very much alive. I think that’s all we can hope for once our bodies start to tell us otherwise! You’ve raised an amazing daughter and I am so lucky to have her in my life!

December 17, 2012 - 10:39 pm

janacarsonblog - Thank you, thank you, MB!! :)

December 17, 2012 - 10:39 pm

janacarsonblog - Likewise, Michelle!! Thank you so much!!

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