We had the good fortune of connecting with Gabrielle Arvanitis-Dalpe and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Gabrielle, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?

I am a ballerina of 15 plus years. Classical ballet training was something I was born to do. My body has always needed ballet. I have trained under companies such as Boston Ballet and KAATSBAAN Ballet. I had the privilege of training under many amazing teachers that refined my technique, and shaped me into the dancer I am today. Unfortunately, some of these same teachers also affected my perception of my own body. The cost of rising up as a classically trained dancer, meant taking on many of the outdated beliefs these teachers grew up on. In their defense, they were only passing on the “knowledge” they believed would propel us into professional careers, but “Suck it in”, “I don’t want to see your lunch”, “You need to focus on your diet”, were all phrases I was comfortable hearing. I had become accustomed to the idea that my body was never going to be good enough. By default, I fell into many disordered eating patterns that led me to a mental state I would not wish upon anyone. Being at this low point, however, did bring up one good thing: I was never going to shut about changing this pattern in the dance world. It’s no secret that as dancers, you keep quiet about these toxic trends to get a contract. Don’t want to lose the weight? No problem, the girl behind you has also been training half her life and is ready to take your spot and lose the weight. Dancers don’t talk about it because of that. I have made it very clear that I don’t advocate for this silence. I am here to speak to every young dancer struggling to understand how they are ever going to be good enough, pretty enough, pale enough, skinny enough, fierce enough, or just enough. Stopping these dancers and reminding them that they ARE enough already. And using that new found confidence to stand up to the many companies stuck in prehistoric ideals of the dance world.

I started Ballet and Balance to inspire young dancers to disrupt the current trends held in dance. Aside from body discrimination, other unrealistic trends include gender discrimination, unequal pay, and racial discrimination. The dance world is brutal. You have to have a lot of grit to make it. Many dancers quit, leaving years of practice behind and feeling very empty afterwards. I began speaking out to these injustices on my platform to connect those dancers. What I needed most during my darker times was that community, which was lacking. Creating a network on TikTok, Instagram, and through my website balletandbalance.com, has led to an influx of dancers messaging, connecting, and relating to one another with affirmations and pains! It has helped so many girls and boys find others struggling with similar issues to them.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?

I post content regularly to all my platforms! Some content is dance tips and tricks and some videos are simply just encouragement! I also teach live ballet classes in Austin and on Zoom to students worldwide who want to learn ballet!

I am constantly trying to build my business by asking myself “What did I need as a young dancer?”. From here, incorporating new ideas and videos into the business that can make the dance world a better place for the next generation!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We are starting at the beach! I would take them to Santa Monica walk the pier and then I would take them into downtown to shop at all the good thrift stores. If they are up for it we would finish with a sunset on Malibu while enjoying our vegan froyo from Pressed Juice!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?

The dance community on TikTok has disrupted so many toxic trends and I believe is truly a catalyst to changing the dance world for the better. Every follower, every direct message, every comment I receive moves me deeply. I am inspired and upheld by the community created on this platform. That being said, I would like to shoutout to @sarafinaballerina on Tiktok who is exposing many of the cruel and unrealistic truths of ballet. And also to @biancascaglione who is doing the same! I hope dance parents can remain aware of these truths and be more involved in their dancer’s life for their safety and well-being!

I have also come this far due to the persistent encouragement from my husband, who has never let me once settle for an average life. He has pushed me toward this calling, and supported me in every way possible. He is really my better half.

I also want to shoutout to other dancers forging the way for change, not only on social media but in person. This past year has opened the eyes of many as to the racial injustices not only in our society, but also in the arts. We cannot see change until we give voice to the many dancers whose voices were tampered in the past, dancers like Michaela Deprince, Kennedy George and Ava Holloway. These dancers continue to speak on the injustices of the dance world. And still advocate for that change. They have inspired me in so many ways to speaking that truth as well.

Website: balletandbalance.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/balletandbalance/?hl=en

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChQSHPYy1MI2_cX0tVGGYFQ

Other: Tik Tok https://www.tiktok.com/@balletandbalance?lang=en

Image Credits
Shots by my husband 🙂

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