Most girls at some point in their childhood have played with a Barbie doll. Growing up I couldn’t wait to play with my Barbie ice cream shop (with a real ice cream maker), my Malibu Townhouse or drive around Barbie, Skipper and Ken in my turquoise and white Barbie 57 Chevy, just like my uncle’s! Our mothers grew up playing with Barbie, and the next generation of young girls are finding inspiration in Barbie as well.
If you’ve dreamt of being a Barbie or a ballerina, you’re not alone. New York City ballerina Jenelle Manzi is getting to fulfill a dream that most kids dream only of, her dance moves were featured in the newly released Barbie in the Pink Shoes DVD. Jenelle was kind enough to join me recently to celebrate the launch of the new DVD, and discuss the steps it takes to become a ballerina, how ballet can improve self-esteem, and her experience starring in the Barbie in the Pink Shoes DVD.
Candace Rose: You’re the star of the Barbie in the Pink Shoes DVD. How old were you when you started dancing and when did you decide you wanted to become a ballerina?
Jenelle Manzi: “I started dancing when I was three years old, so I was really young. But as I got older, I was around 11 years when I knew this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”
Candace Rose: How has ballet helped you with your self-esteem and how do you think it can help our little ones?
Jenelle Manzi: “I think ballet is an amazing art where if your child practices every day, she sees a lot of improvement and after each lesson it gives you a big self confidence boost to see how your hard work can help you grow.”
Candace Rose: What is the process of becoming a ballerina?
Jenelle Manzi: “Becoming a ballerina is a long process. I don’t think it can be fully explained in a few sentences, but it takes a lot of hard work, a lot of training, strengthening and most of all it needs to come from your heart. It needs to be what you love, and it needs to be a part of you at all times.”
Candace Rose: You’re the ballerina behind all the moves in the “Barbie in the Pink Shoes” DVD. How was that experience for you? Can you tell us about your two tutorials?
Jenelle Manzi: “The experience was probably a dream come true, just because any girl dreams of being Barbie, and here I am dancing as Barbie in the movie. Just being able to see my movement and my dancing translated into a computer animated Barbie was one of the coolest things.
The two tutorials are a great way to introduce any young girl into ballet. They’re small little clip lessons that show ballet moves. They start off really small with some stretching, pointing and flexing of the toes; and they move on and progress to something- which is actually the final performance which shows various moves that we perform in the movie.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?
Jenelle Manzi: “The best tip for any young girl as a ballet dancer would be to listen to your heart and constantly work hard and constantly find inspiration, whether it be from other ballet movies or other ballet dancers, or from other dancers in the studio. It’s just a really good idea to find inspiration from other places.”
Candace Rose: Where can viewers go for more information and find the Barbie in the Pink Shoes DVD?
Jenelle Manzi: “If you go online at Barbie.com, they have a whole section that’s dedicated to Barbie in the Pink Shoes. You can find the DVD, as well as the toy line and also the two tutorials which I spoke about before- all available there.”