Hello beautiful Balanced Ballerinas! I hope you’ve had an amazing week, kicking goals, taking class and taking care of your physical and mental health. Remember, a ballet class usually fixes both these things simultaneously… so keep doing what you love!
As you’ll hear, my voice is still a little under the weather. I’ll be honest, don’t actually know what it is at the moment, having some tests (not covid related, don’t worry!) but todays guest did say that he liked the husky tone and I tend to agree with him. Unfortunately though it’s not my real voice and something is going on so I’ll keep you updated.
Anyway, if you haven’t already head on over to our private Facebook group titled ‘Secret Balanced Ballerinas Facebook Group’ so you can connect with like-minded people within this amazing community. Or if Instagram is more your style, head to @balancedballerinas for more BB content. I love connecting with you all, so never be afraid to reach out. I am also sharing a couple of listener voicemails in the next episode, so if you fancy send one through to [email protected] – I love getting voice memos from you!
Now I am beyond excited to share todays guest. In fact, this episode wasn’t supposed to air for another couple of months as I often record my episodes with guests way ahead of time and schedule them so I don’t miss a beat. However this one is too good not to share straight away!
It was an honour to have a conversation with the one and only Gabe Stone Shayer. He is more than a Soloist with American Ballet Theatre, he is a creative, a producer, a choreographer, a fashionista, a pioneer, an advocate… and of course an artist! There’s so much more than meets the eye when it comes to Gabe.
I spoke to Gabe only a few days ago whilst he takes up an artist residency in the Cayman Islands. However Gabe is usually a New York City native due to his title at ABT and passion for fashion which has him working with some of the worlds top designers, including a recent collaboration with Chanel. Gabe is the first and only African American to graduate from the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet Academy and now as one of the only black soloists in ABT, I asked him how it feels to be known as the first or the only… instead of just an artist. I think some of his answers will surprise you and I’d like to thank Gabe from the bottom of my heart for being so open and honest in his answers.
Gabe has performed for many dignitaries, including the President of Slovakia and US President Joe Biden on the Vice Presidential visit in Moscow, Russia, and is a regular dance partner of the remarkable Misty Copeland. And yes, you all know I’m obsessed with Misty so I did ask Gabe what she’s like… I’m pretty sure my voice changed an octave as I fan girl-ed.
During a time when many dancers are untethered by the barre and able to explore other creative pursuits, Gabe has wasted no time. Recognised by the New York Trust Community Fund, he received the Levinson Arts Achievement Award and was granted $50k for his recent projects titled Creative Genesis, PAS DE DEUX a four-part docu-series supported by CHANEL Official featuring the Alicia Keys and his Ghana Project where he instructed ballet students and teachers in Ghana via Zoom and created scholarships through ABT.
Like I said, it’s an absolute honour to have the opportunity to share Gabe’s story and flow from heavier (and such important!) conversations about diversity in ballet to chat about fashion, art and Chanel pearls! Watching Gabe collaborate and incorporate his style, masculinity and choreographic voice into his brand and projects is like watching a young man step into his own. What a gift to speak to Gabe on the precipice of authentically inserting himself into the world of dance…
If you enjoy this episode, please make sure you tell a friend or take a screenshot to share on social media. A little bit of love goes a long way and inspires me to continue having and sharing these conversations.
Grit & Grace,