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Sep 24, 2019

This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra chats with Mariaelena Ruiz, a dance prodigy, dance coach and, now, Co-Owner and Director of the Professional Training Program at Cary Ballet Conservatory. Ruiz has danced professionally since the young age of 14 with several esteemed ballet companies. Since an injury forced her to step away from dance, Mariaelena has since fallen in love with teaching, having taught 14 years at the Rock School for Dance Education and, now, teaching at her own conservatory.

On the podcast, Ruiz’s love for teaching really shines through, as she covers a plethora of topics including the importance of finding (and holding onto) a good teacher, the positives and negatives of modern technology, how to fight through the lie of instant gratification, and much more. Additionally, Mariaelena spends ample time covering her own story and relays some advice for any aspiring dancers looking to follow in her footsteps.


Moving Quotes:

“Teaching found me and saved me."

“If you don’t find a teacher that’s going to get the best out of you, you are probably going to get lost in the shuffle."

“[With the next generation], I want to teach them all of the amazing things about the art form [of dance], but also remind them that, in life, this is not going to happen tomorrow."

“I want to bring our art with us moving forward as a society, but I don’t want us to lose that classical feel. It still has to be an amazing piece of art."

[On owning her own dance school] “It’s been very very difficult. Would I do it again? Absolutely. And I’ve learned a lot."


Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:

2:32: Mariaelena discusses the two reasons why she originally became involved with ballet and how she was fortunate to have the teachers that she did as she was learning the art. 

5:47: Mariaelena describes her love of teaching and how teaching helped her get through an extremely difficult time in her life.

11:20: Ruiz discusses her current role — Co-owner and Director of the Cary Ballet Conservatory — and the benefits and challenges to owning and running your own business.

15:36: Mariaelena looks back at her time as a teacher at the Rock School of Ballet and tells how that opportunity “shaped” her into who she is today.

19:37: Ruiz speaks on the future of dance and her desire to teach the future generation to put in the hard work and not believe the lie of instant gratification.

24:56: Ruiz explains how parents and teachers can fight against the myth of instant gratification that’s pushed by things like technology and social media.

28:44: Mariaelena gives some advice to aspiring dancers and to dancers who are currently considering other opportunities in dance-related fields.

33:04: Mariaelena lists out some goals she’d like to achieve in the next five years — both personal goals and professional goals.

Bullet List of Resources – 

Mariaelena Ruiz

Cary Ballet Conservatory