Kristin Klade has been teaching adult ballet at Texas Ballet Theater in Fort Worth for a year.
BL: When and where did you start dancing?
KK: I started dancing in Fort Worth from about four years old to twelve years old. I continued my pre-professional training at North Central Ballet in Keller and later I went to the University of Oklahoma.
BL: What about ballet appeals to you?
KK: My heart was drawn to it. I really loved the structure, gracefulness and discipline of it. It’s really the foundation of all other dance forms; if a dancer wanted to pursue contemporary or hip hop, ballet still has all the important elements of a dancer’s training.
BL: What insecurities have you faced as a dancer?
KK: All dancers struggle with some insecurities, and they’re always striving for perfection. For me, I didn’t have the “perfect” turnout, and I guess I never really felt like I had the “perfect” body, so I felt like I had to work extra hard at my performance.
BL: I appreciate your honesty. Adults tend to be self-conscious about how they look. Of course, we don’t care how they look.
KK: Totally. It doesn’t matter.
BL: What do you enjoy about adult ballet classes, specifically?
KK: Adults are there because they really want to be there, unlike some kids who are less motivated, or are pushed by their parents to be there. I don’t have to spend time getting their attention; I can just focus on the art and get more in depth. I enjoy getting into the whys of what we’re doing, and I can move a lot quicker because adults have better cognitive skills.
BL: Have you experienced any memorable moments?
KK: I have a student who went on pointe this year and she’s been taking private lessons with me. It’s neat to see because it’s something I’m sure she’s dreamed of doing for a long time and probably thought she would never get to do. You can see the pure joy on her face and it’s just really cool.
BL: What’s your favorite part of class and why?
KK: I truly enjoy all of class. In adult ballet class, I like to use more flowy movements where they can use their shoulders and arms, and it just feels good.
BL: Do you have any favorite dance brands or accessories?
KK: I still wear the trash bag shorts. (laughs) Very old school. But they keep my hips warm so I really like them. I also use marbles and make students pick them up with their toes. It teaches them how to use their feet better.
BL: What do you love most about teaching adults?
KK: You can tell that class is very special to them, a special part of the life. They’re taking a break from kids or work, and coming to class to enjoy themselves. Most of them are dancing for the love of it, not to impress me or get in the company or anything.
BL: What advice do you have for adult dancers?
KK: I want adults to understand the importance of learning the basics first. Sometimes I’ll give students a few options when attempting a combination; they can try the basic way, or try a more advanced version. Beginning students a lot of times will try to do the harder option before they’ve even mastered the basics. It’s really important to learn basic movements, because if you don’t have that base of strength and knowledge, you’re not improving or really understanding what you’re doing. Just learn the basics first until you build your confidence. Finally, don’t take yourself too seriously, breathe and have fun.
Thank you Kristin!