Described by some as an American choreographer with a Russian soul, Eric Conrad is most famous for his work with arguably the worlds most famous ballerina, Misty Copeland.

There are hours of videos on YouTube for free with Eric coaching Misty and they’re an absolute gold mine of technical teachings. I’ve spent hours watching Eric break down the placement of a chasse pas de bourre or a simple tendu to a la seconde with Misty. As a ballet nerd, it’s fascinating.

Watching his videos, he often says to those he’s coaching, “Do you feel that? Do you feel the difference? Now, please don’t just agree with me. Tell me if you don’t and I’ll explain another way…” These kinds of comments, in my opinion are what make a phenomenal teacher and why I wanted to interview Eric on the podcast.

At any given time, I have many things on my mind… if I’m honest, it’s kind of exhausting. Thoughts about our industry, our training methods, our practices, competitions, social media, flexibility and how snobby and dusty the ballet world can be at times, especially when dealing with adult learners of ballet – just to name a few.

However I’m a bit different to Eric in that I tend to workshop my thoughts. I write and stew over notions before deciding on an argument, letting it simmer before releasing into the wild via this podcast, a blog post or social media. Oftentimes I’ll write a Instagram caption about something I’m passionate about and not post for months to check in with myself at a later date and see if I still feel the same way…

I feel like Eric is maybe the opposite of me, in that he seems to just say what’s on his mind, sometimes to his detriment, but nonetheless brave. Like Eric, I’m very sure of myself. But unlike him I tend to tip toe around certain issues for fear of hurting someones feelings. On the other hand, Eric see’s everything very black and white and that calling people out on their nonsense as a service for the better good. If I’m honest, I kind of admire this about him…

As Eric says himself, he’s not in the business of being a sweetheart. He’s in the business of speaking the truth. Wether you agree with his truth or not is another story. But I have respect for the man because he isn’t afraid to speak what’s on his mind.

In this conversation you’ll also hear from Svetlana (Eric’s wife, who started ballet only a few years ago). Ballet has saved her from crippling migraines and all sorts of pain. She credits ballet for her new found quality of life and as someone who deals with this on a daily basis with my own clients, I could completely relate to her and Eric’s passion for the importance placed on the work we do.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to share on the Balanced Ballerinas Podcast Instagram (@balancedballerinas) some of Eric’s quotes, which you’ll hear scattered throughout this podcast… he has a talent for summing up a profound thought into one sentence. So make sure you’re following if you don’t already do so…

Let’s get into my chat with Eric Conrad. Master ballet coach and lover of turnout…

You can find more of Eric’s work at balletconradinstitute.uscreen.io or simply head to Instagram @balletconrad

Grit & Grace,

Georgia