Most of the time when I do an interview, I upload it onto the computer and write the introduction at a much later date. Often the interviews are done weeks (if not months!) before I even release them.
But after speaking to Alex (also known as Ally) Mazerolle, here I am, writing away only moments after our conversation. This is how inspiring this remarkable woman is.
The best way to describe Ally is remarkable. Truly remarkable. Her candid nature is as striking as her aura (which I felt, despite Ally being all the way in New York City whilst I’m in Australia during this interview) and I can’t help but leave our conversation feeling like I want to take over the world with her.
And by world, I mean the world of women… ladies… teens… tweens… the group who have been marginalised and told that their bodies are for others enjoyment or something to be embarrassed about for far too long. Well thanks to people like Ally, that’s becoming a notion of the past. Women have woken up and we are now reclaiming our bodies, our space and our rights.
You see, there’s a topic I’ve been wanting to cover for quite some time now. Periods.
Why you ask? Well it’s a topic that I come across weekly within the four walls of my studio. Wether it’s a parent coming in to tell me that their daughter won’t get out of the car because she just got her period or a shy student ashamed to wear shorts over her leotard in order to feel more comfortable… I often think to myself, why is everyone so embarrassed and sensitive around this topic? Surely if it happens to all of us, we should be confident and at the very least coherent when talking about periods.
What I mean by this is the fact that parents will whisper to me, “My daughter got her period and I’m not sure what she should wear or do…” or another one I’ve heard many times, “She got her period. The poor thing. It’s so unfair. Such disgusting things us women have to go through…” What surprises me, is that oftentimes these comments come from women who are confident, empowered women. So it always surprises me.
My question is why are we so repulsed, awkward and uncomfortable with this topic? Myself at times included. However, inspired by Ally I pledge to be more open about the topic from here on. I pledge to make my students feel confident, empowered and unashamed. I started this thought process last year, but this year I’m ramping it up. If you’re a ballet teacher listening to this, I’d love you to consider making the same pledge too.
During our conversation, Ally discusses ways we can do this as teachers, as parents and as a community…
And for all my beautiful young ladies out there who are challenged with wearing extremely tight and often pastel coloured clothes during your period, I hope this conversation helps you navigate the intricacies of dealing with periods as a dancer. But most importantly, I hope this conversation helps you realise that you’re not ‘dealing’ with your period. You’re traversing the very normal (and somewhat beautiful) bodily function of being a woman.
Ally shares her story. I share mine. And hopefully through our less than desirable experiences we can help the next generation of young dancers and inspire conversations between mothers and daughters (because I know a lot of you listen to this podcast in the car together) or as Ally says, hopefully this even inspires conversations between father and daughter, grandma and granddaughter or friend to friend.
I’ll be honest; half my battle was trying to find someone within my industry willing to even have this conversation with me. I was even going to do a solo episode. But just before I gave up finding someone, I was scrolling through Instagram and came across Ally who I’ve been following for almost eight years. How had I not thought of her before?
With a background in competitive dance and a story similar to my exit from the professional dance scene, Ally has created a beautiful community through her work – Girlvana Yoga, Ladyvana Retreats, Lululemon global ambassadorship and yoga teaching. Ally is also currently writing her first book and I am buying multiple copies the moment it’s released.
This woman is exceptional. And what she’s doing for young girls in the yoga scene, I want to do for the ballet scene. I think I have a bit of an uphill battle, but like I said, I’ve publicly taken a pledge now… so let’s see what happens.
Towards the end of the interview, Ally and I both mention that we reclaimed our body confidence through various other practices outside the dance world. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had of been able to do that in the dance world? Just a reminder, in case you’ve forgotten, this is part of why the Balanced Ballerinas brand, conversation, retreats and content exists.
As always, another conversation with another amazing human being with the intention of bringing us one step closer to balance…
Grit & Grace,