FR: What style of ballet do you do? (RAD…Balanchine etc)
FR: How long have you been dancing?
KB: I started training when I was 5 years old.
FR: What got you into dancing?
KB: When I was young, I loved playing dress up. I must admit, my mother lured me into ballet with the costumes! However, when I was 9 years old I was in The Joffrey Ballet’s Nutcracker and that really got me into dancing!
FR: Where do/did you train?
KB: During the year I trained at Washington Ballet and San Francisco Ballet. In the summers I would go to Houston Ballet Academy, San Francisco Ballet School, and Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell.
FR: How long have you been diabetic?
KB: I have been diabetic for almost 5 years! I was diagnosed on Friday, January 13, 2012.
FR: How did you deal with feelings of fear when you received your diagnosis? How were you able to move past those fears?
KB: When I was diagnosed, I was so shocked. Since I was leading an active lifestyle, and a bit old for juvenile diabetes, I was in complete disbelief. I had been sick with symptoms for about 2 ½ years before I found out, so I was grateful that the insulin made me finally feel better. I actually didn’t realize how bad I felt! My first fear was about the needle and how I was going to muster up the courage to give myself all of the shots. However, I got over that quickly! I was able to get over my fear about having diabetes because everything was making me feel better.
FR: How did you find the strength and willpower to continue dancing while you were struggling with diabetes?
KB: After I was diagnosed, I took about 5 months off of dancing to get my new life under control. I needed to learn about nutrition and how to balance my insulin. I also had felt terrible for so long that I needed to heal up. (Side note: the last year or so before I got diagnosed I had a horribly infected corn and bone spur that needed surgery. My surgery never healed until I got on insulin, which was 7 months later!) When I finally started feeling better, I realized that I still wanted to dance. My age and past injuries were a factor in deciding to pursue musical theater. Luckily, I have been able to use my ballet training for many of my roles!
FR: Strengths in ballet (piourettes, adagio, flexibility, jumps etc...).
KB: My strengths in ballet are definitely my flexibility and adagio.
FR: What do you think of ballet competitions?
KB: I think ballet competitions are great for learning how to quickly pick up choreography and to make anything work. I feel like ballet dancers get so finicky about every hair being in the right place, or the floor being so slippery, or the spotlight being too bright. After judging many dance competitions, I’m amazed that no matter what is going on, the most important part is dancing and performing. While I don’t think ballet is a circus act, and some competitions lend itself to that idea, working on variations, pas de deux, and different styles of dance only make you a better dancer! If you’re in the corps de ballet, you don’t always get these opportunities, so if anything, competitions will help you improve your skills.
FR: A struggle you've faced or are facing in ballet that discourages you sometimes?
KB: In ballet, it is most important to focus on yourself and not compare yourself to others. My mentor, Suzanne Farrell, always says, “someone will always jump higher, turn more, and have better extension than you, but no one can be you.” I always thought about that, because bringing your personality and soul into dancing helps develop your own artistry, which no one can take.
FR: What is the hardest part about being diabetic for you?
KB: The hardest part about dancing and being diabetic is balancing my blood sugars before, during, and after performance, especially on two show days! To maintain my energy for a 3-hour show, I need my blood sugar to be about 180 mg/dl. Adrenaline will also help my run a bit higher. After the show, I will always drop about 100 points, which is also why I like to be a bit higher. I absolutely love and depend on my Dexcom continuous glucose monitor. I keep it backstage with me for emergencies, along with some natural fruit strips in case I start dropping.
FR: What advice do you have for newly diagnosed diabetics?
KB: My advice for newly diagnosed diabetics is to examine your diet. It helps you develop a baseline for balancing your blood sugars. If you go to back to basics, you will see how your blood sugar reacts when you add in different foods. I follow the Paleo diet, which cuts out dairy, legumes, and grains. This has helped me tremendously! However, if I really want a piece of pizza or a small bite of dessert, I’m not going to stress out! I do know that eating large portions of these foods will make me feel sick though, so I try and stay away from them.
FR: Are you on the insulin pump or shots? If you are on the pump, what do you think of it?
KB: I have only ever taken shots. Since becoming Paleo, I have also cut down on my insulin by at least 2/3! With my performance lifestyle and costumes, I feel like I would constantly be detaching myself from the pump too.
FR: Favourite ballet movie and favourite non-ballet movie?
KB: For dance movies, I grew up watching and loving Dirty Dancing and Grease! My favorite ballet movies are Center Stage (love the cheesiness), Black Swan, and Ballet 422. My favorite non-ballet movie is Walk the Line.
FR: Favourite ballet book and favourite non-ballet book?
KB: Suzanne Farrell’s autobiography “Holding onto the Air” is my favorite ballet book. I love reading and have several favorite books. As for non-ballet books, I’m recommending “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” and “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.”
FR: Hobbies outside of dance?
KB: I love fashion and catching up with friends. My friends would also say I love a freshly polished nail and a face mask! I love spending time with my husband and cooking. Basically, I try and have a very normal life when I’m offstage!
FR: On average, how many times do you check your blood sugar?
KB: I check my blood sugar when I wake up and go to sleep and before meals, so approximately 4 times a day. I always check and reference my Dexcom before a show, or if I’m sick or feeling weird.
FR: Do performance nerves affect your blood sugar? If so, how do they affect it and how do you deal with it?
KB: My adrenaline or nerves definitely raise my blood sugar! I try and stay no higher than 200 or else I start getting brain fog. I’m careful with dosing insulin before a show, because I know I will drop. My Dexcom has saved my life on more than one occasion!
FR: I heard you use the Paleo diet. How does that help your blood sugars?
KB: Yes, I love the Paleo diet! Since nothing I’m eating really boosts up my blood sugar, it helps me have more predictable numbers.
FR: Best advice to a new dancer?
KB: My advice for a new dancer is to keep an open mind and to keep working hard. Listen to your teachers and educate yourself with dance videos. Youtube is a fantastic resource!
FR: Why do you dance?
KB: I have danced my entire life and cannot imagine not dancing. Even when I’m not onstage or in the studio, I’m always being silly and dancing around. Dancing is the visual extension of music and it’s a beautiful way to express yourself!
FR: What are some of your dance goals?
KB: I feel like I am so lucky with where my career in dance has taken me and I really cherish all of the opportunities I am still given! It was a goal of mine to dance professionally with a top tier ballet company and I did that. I consider it a great gift that I am still employed and dancing!
FR: What keeps you from not quitting dance, in other words, what inspires you to keep on dancing?
KB: The physical demands are so inspiring and dancing keeps pulling me back! When I had retired before my diabetes diagnosis, I started dancing again as soon as I started feeling better! It’s truly what I was meant to do.
Birthday: December 28
What she's listening to right now: Hamilton!
Who would her in a movie: Rachel McAdams, Anne Hathaway, or January Jones!
Best advice she's ever received: My Dad once told me that not everyone in life is going to think I’m great, and that’s ok, but if I remember I AM great, nothing else matters.
She won’t leave the house without her: Dexcom and iphone!
Favorite food: Mexican!
If she could be a superhero, her power would be: Teleportation
Performer she’d love to work with: I love dancing with my husband, Maximilien Baud
Must-see TV show: Nashville.
Strangest thing in her dance bag: At any given time I could win the contest for having almost anything in my bag! Utensils, phone charger, ipad, magazine, candy, food, paperclips, nailpolish, bandaids… You name it, I have it!
When she needs a little extra inspiration: I think of how blessed I am to have a great support system and to be doing what I’m doing!
Behind the scenes shot...
Dirty Dancing Stage Door
Photo from Dance Spirit Magazine.
As always, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did please give this post a +1 on Google+ and leave me a comment below if you're diabetic. I hope you all have a lovely week.
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