Blog

We will be inviting a guest blogger monthly. If you are interested in contributing a blog about your experiences at PBS, please let us know via our Contact page. All ages are invited: students, former students, parents, faculty etc. Thank you – and Happy Dancing!

April 2016: Amy Puliafito

Amy Puliafito

Dear Paulette,
I’m sorry it has taken me so long to drop you a note. I appreciate the cards you send me each holiday – it means so much to me. I am living in San Francisco now which I like, but it’s also a bit far from my Boston home. I feel so old now (31!) compared to when I saw you everyday, although in my heart I still feel in many ways like a little girl. Thank you for believing me and giving me love and support and someone to look up to as a young woman. I don’t take that for granted and remain grateful for it to this day. Mentors, teachers, and role models are truly rare, especially excellent ones, and seem rarer still as I get older. I do feel that your support and attention made me realize that and I try to offer those things to my closest friends and young women in my life and in the workplace. Please know that I think of you often and I am forever grateful to have had you as a teacher.
Love,
Amy Puliafito


June 2015: Emily Zona

Emily Zona “graduates” from Paulette’s this year, after dancing with us since she was a child, and later becoming an invaluable assistant teacher and role model, both to our young students and her peers alike.  We’ll miss her so much, but can’t wait to see her fly!

Emily Zona Emily Zona

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking through the door of Paulette’s Ballet Studio, I feel instantly refreshed, relaxed, and ready to dance. Over the   past eight years I have been fortunate enough to call this studio my second home and sanctuary. The benefits of dancing transcend tricks and the technique of a sky-high battement and a pulled-up pirouette; dancing allows me to overcome the chaos that is the tempo of my life, to seek refuge in my originality, to feel the unsayable, untouchable power of dance, and to live with inimitable freedom. When other aspects of life are seemingly beyond my control, dance soothes my stress and gives me the confidence and poise to fearlessly approach any situation.

Words cannot adequately describe my gratitude to all of my teachers. Thank you for being such incredible role models and mentors and for pushing me to always dance from my heart. During the countless hours at the studio I have not only forged meaningful relationships with my teachers, but I have made lifelong friendships with many of the other dancers. We share an unbreakable bond secured by our mutual love for dance and sparkly eye shadows. I could not imagine growing up without all of my dance sisters. I love you girls. As Paulette would say, “School friends are whatever, but dance friends are forever.”

Although my time at Paulette’s is coming to a close, I will forever treasure all of the memories from my time at the studio. Pictures will fade over time, but these memories will be engraved in our hearts, never to be forgotten. Dance will continue to be an integral part of my life next year at Boston College where I plan on pursuing pre-medical studies and hopefully joining one of the many dance organizations. Growing up at Paulette’s, I have learned the importance of determination and passion which I will carry with me for the rest of my life. To the younger girls who I have had the honor of teaching: remember that dance is a gift, so cherish every moment, and don’t forget to put on your “thinking caps!”


February 2015: Alex Conrad

Alex

When Paulette first asked me to write an essay for the website I was taken aback. Shaking my head with an eyebrow raised my lips fumbled out, “What? I haven’t accomplished much of anything.” Yet upon further examination of life since Paulette’s Ballet Studio, I realized that I have actually done some pretty neat things that would not be possible without the foundation that Paulette laid for me.

By my senior year of high school two years ago, I had been dancing with Paulette for fifteen years, working as a desk assistant for four of them. Those years at desk taught me how to maintain a professional-cool in times of seemingly endless stress. Similarly, Paulette has instilled in me a sense of self-worth, an understanding that if I try my hardest anything can be achieved from a split to a prestigious internship. It was with these principles that I set off to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst Honors College. Last summer, I was lucky enough to participate in an internship at WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station. Here, I assisted in event planning, marketing and research. To be honest, I probably would not have applied had I not had the experience that Paulette gave me. In that same vein, each member of the studio faculty has affected in me a positive change. Without all of their love and support during these trying years of adolescence, I would not be nearly as poised, confident and happy. In fact, I would credit Paulette’s Ballet Studio with all of the non-klutzy bones in my body.

Alexandra Conrad is a Sophomore at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst Honors College. She has declared a double major in Biology and Gender Studies and is the Vice President/Gig Manager/Treasurer in running of her Acapella group, Wicked Pitch.


June 2014: Yuval Dinoor

Yuval wrote this letter to Paulette following our Spring Concert.

Yuval

 

Dear Paulette,

This weekend, I saw a friend’s dance recital and got a glimpse of one of those “other studios” for the first time. I was shocked by what I saw. It wasn’t because of the teachers performing their routines on the ground in front of the stage so their students could copy, or because the entire studio neglected to point their toes, but rather because of the notable lack of happiness throughout the show. The girls onstage rarely smiled at all, and the effect of their unenthusiasm was profound—audience members were on their phones, walking around the theatre and talking to other adults in the room, and even leaving after their child had finished dancing. This seemed so confusing to me—our concert season is one of my favorite times of year, yet the dancers at this show looked somewhere between bored and miserable. And finally, I understood: all dance shows are a give and take between us performers and our audience. If one party isn’t fully invested in what’s happening onstage, the other can’t be. The reason all of the Paulette’s concerts I have performed in went so well is because your studio does not only raise us as dancers; it raises us as happy dancers.

I didn’t want to end this dancing year without properly thanking you for all that my time at the studio so far has involved. Spending time with Karina and the girls in her classes this concert season made me think a lot about who think I was when I first began dancing. Back in 6th grade, I struggled to open up after a painful period of social rejection the year before. When a girl I looked up to said modern dance looked cool to her, I raced to the internet to find the best place in Newton to become the best modern dancer. While I joined the studio as an attempt to conform, I come back year after year now because it is my place to feel unique, to be who I am without needing to explain. Dancing has made me outspoken and thoughtful, cautious yet braver, and has brought me more joy than I could say. I love being able to take different styles of dance because each one takes from me and gives me different things. Jazz takes power and gives me confidence. Pointe takes control and gives me elegance. Lyrical takes a willingness to lose myself in music and gives me grace. And finally ballet, a style I would have never discovered my passion for had it not been required at the studio, takes concentration and gives me a warm bubbly glow that makes me feel strong and beautiful. Saturdays are when I value myself the most, even if I struggle to pick up an unfamiliar step or make more mistakes than anyone else in class.

Of course, I treasure the studio not just because it is my dancing home but also for its culture. I love listening to your Harriet stories every ballet class and hearing of all the joy dancing brought to you. One of my favorite moments of every concert week is when Janet comes onstage with you and watching your happiness together—I hope the bonds I make with my friends are as strong as the one the two of you have maintained all these years.

I appreciate dancing with you so, so much. Thank you for the studio and all the experiences it has and will continue to bring me.

Love,

Yuval Dinoor

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February/March 2014: Amanda Chou

Amanda Chou, who has been a student at Paulette’s Ballet Studio for 13 years, was asked to write about her hero for a school assignment, and here is her essay.

Paulette and Amanda Chou

Paulette and Amanda Chou

My hero would have to be my dance teacher, Paulette, because she’s been not only teaching me to dance for 13 years but has been teaching others for over 50 years. She has been a huge influence to all her students not only at the dance studio but also in their post dancing experience (i.e., college and work life). She has instilled such passion and commitment for something she loves doing that she has taught all her students the value of self-expression and confidence in everything you do. Paulette is my hero because even at the age of 80+, she is still teaching and choreographing dances daily in both her Newton and Medfield dance studios. Even after her hip replacement, she bounced back after a long recovery and is again teaching, choreographing, designing, and sewing the beautiful costumes for her dancers. Each dancer has custom fitted costumes. This is a huge undertaking since she has over 200 students. Because of her love for Dance and her dancers, she has shown courage and inspiration to all. She has taught her dancers to never give up on doing something you love. Commit and pursue your dreams. All you need is the Will and the Inspiration to make it happen. This is why I’m so proud to have Paulette as my hero. Thank you so much Paulette for being there for me the past 13 almost 14 years. You definitely mean a lot to me and when you said God gives you a brain, I literally love when you say it because it helps what I need to work on. I can’t believe next year is my senior year and I will be up onstage at Regis bawling my eyes out when I say my senior speech because this is my home. Improving on dance techniques I haven’t worked on or I haven’t heard before have definitely made me a whole different person these past 13 years. She taught me so well these past years like working on pirouettes, fouette turns, split improvements, and I can name everything Paulette has taught me.
Thank you Paulette!

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May 2013: Penny Jungreis and Taylor Beidler

Each year we bid a bittersweet farewell to our graduating seniors, many of whom have been with us since they were tiny preschoolers.  Their “senior essays” have become a mainstay of our yearly concert program.   Here are a couple of our favorites from this year’s edition. 

Penny Jungreis

Penny Jungreis

I’ll never forget the first time I saw a Paulette’s performance. My family had just moved to Newton, and we were looking for a new studio for me. It was 2007, just before Through the Looking Glass was to be put on, and we decided to go see it. I was blown away by the caliber of the dancers and the quality of the show production—and I was positive that I would never be good enough to dance alongside those dancers on that stage. But with some parental coaxing, I eventually agreed to try out a class.

I’ve been dancing with Paulette for six years since then, and I have loved every minute of it. I cannot imagine better teachers and role models than the people I have been able to learn from over my time at the studio. There were times where I doubted I could ever figure out a step, or remember a lengthier dance, but all of my teachers were always patient enough to work with me and make sure that I personally knew what I was doing on stage. That level of diligence is not something that can be found at just any studio, and I feel lucky to have been given such an opportunity. I also feel lucky to have had the chance to be taught by Paulette, one of the most amazing people I have ever met. She always took the time to pick me out and tell me, and the entire rest of the class, EXACTLY what I was doing wrong—and for that I can never thank her enough. Paulette cares about technique, but she also cares about her students as people, and for that reason she would never let me make a fool of myself on stage.

I was asked to work one day a week at the front desk this year, and that has been a great chance for me to get more involved with the studio and with preparing for the concert. I’ve had the chance to see at least some tiny fraction of the work that goes into putting on our show, and on occasion offer a helping hand.

The confidence I have gained through performing, and the experience I’ve gained through working at the studio are both things that I will carry with me into the next stages of my life. I will be attending Wagner College beginning next fall to study Arts Administration, and I intend to continue dancing while there and for many years to come. No matter where life’s journey may take me, I will proudly carry the stamp of a Paulette’s dancer.

Taylor Beidler

Taylor Beidler

This is my first and last dance recital at Paulette’s. I have been dancing since age four and have moved around most of my life, and with each new state meant a new dance studio. Paulette’s Ballet Studio is my sixth dance studio throughout my dancing years, and I am so proud to say that Paulette’s is the only studio that has made me feel at home. I have found too often at other studios a sense of competition, which always made me feel that I was not welcome at dance class. In the short time that I have been at Paulette’s, I have learned how painfully beautiful dance is for me, challenging me further than any studio has before. My proudest moment this year was when, at the age of seventeen, I finally got my splits. Paulette’s Ballet Studio taught me to plant my hands on my head and breathe my way into my splits, finally reaching something that I thought would never happen for me. A brief piece of advice for younger dancers is to embrace sweat. I know this may sound gross, but sweating is just your body’s way of telling you just how hard you are working! Walk into each and every dance class willing to give every ounce of energy left in you, I promise you it pays off.

Next year I will be going to the Boston University School of Theater to study acting. Acting has always been my biggest passion in life, and I have been fortunate enough to develop a strong relationship between acting and dance. Personally, I believe in order to appear the most natural on stage, you have to understand how each and every inch of your body works, and dance has taught me how to use my body as an integral part of character development. This is why I have also chosen to take on a dance minor on top of my conservatory training in acting, because I believe that I need to keep an active body in order to maintain an active mind. Even though I have only been at Paulette’s Ballet Studio for a short time, I have learned the power in determination and trust in oneself, and will carry these memories with me wherever I go.

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August 2012: The Fields Family

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(Jocelyn and Anastasia Fields)

It seems like yesterday when I signed up my daughters for their first ballet class at Paulette’s in Medfield.  This year will be our 9th and 11th year of dancing.  Each year better than the last and for my girls, their love of dance has grown immeasurably. There is not a day that goes by without the sounds of jazz feet, tap feet or pointe shoes working their magic and trying out a new dance combination.  Many nights we end our dinner with a show of new dance moves or an old dance number from last year or the year before. The sounds of  5, 6, 7, 8 are part of everyday vernacular.  Dancing is a big part of their lives and so much of that love comes from the admiration and respect my girls have towards their dance teachers at Paulette’s.  It is here that my girls have learned how to do their best and be their best.  It is here that my girls have learned poise and confidence to step on to the big stage and dance their hearts out.  It is here that they found their passion.  Going to Paulette’s is like going to the candy store; pure joy, a trip worth taking every single day.  Many people unfamiliar with Paulette’s believe it is hard and strict.  But that is just what I love about the place.  It teaches these girls how to dance and it expects them to work hard.  It is just the reason why I signed up my girls so many years ago.  And to see them dancing at the show makes my heart swell with pride knowing how much they enjoy what they do every single day and how hard they work to do their best.

    –Marion Fields—

 img008.jpg(Anastasia Fields)

When I was four years old my mom took me to my first ballet class at Paulette’s Ballet Studio. Since that day, my love for dancing has grown.  I love going to the studio to dance.  At home I find myself dancing whenever I am not sitting in a chair doing homework.   Dance is a big part of who I am and what I like to do.  At the age of four, dance was nothing more than a Saturday morning class.  Today it is part of my every day.  I enjoy it so much that I take a few weeks out of the summer to attend various dance camps.  Everything I have learned at Paulette’s has stuck with me through the years.  I still use the very same ballerina check list when preparing for bar work that I learned day 1 at Paulette’s.  I wear my black leotard and my hair in a tight bun.  I still get excited for show time.  I love to put on the glitzy costumes and the bright red lipstick year after year.  It took only my first performance to realize how much I enjoy being on stage and dancing in front of my friends and family.  I loved it as much then as I do now.

Throughout my several years at Paulette’s I have been offered many wonderful opportunities that I have enjoyed greatly. When I was in 5th grade I was asked to be a soloist for a class of young ballerinas. Two years later I was given the honor to become an Assistant Teacher. For the past three years I have been assisting many classes with differing ages and dance styles.  I have loved doing all of it and have learned so much from the experience.  Along the way, I have made many of my best friends in my dance classes.  Some of these friends I am able to see at school, but many others I only see at dance.  This makes going to dance even more special after a long day.  We all share one thing in common……we love to dance.

–Anastasia Fields—

img010.jpg(Jocelyn Fields)

Ever since my sister Anastasia was signed up for her first classes at Paulette’s I knew that I wanted to be a ballerina just like her. I could not wait for the day that I would get to put on pink tights and the black leotard.  I was 4 when I started.  After the first day I was certain that Paulette’s Ballet Studio was the place for me.  I cannot wait until classes begin in September and I look forward to the concert in May.  I love the excitement the show brings and the hard work we put in to being ready for the stage.  One of my favorite parts of being at Paulette’s is the friends you make. I have made my 2 best friends here and I would have never thought in a million years that we would be as close as we are today.  The experiences that we have shared will never be forgotten and all of the dance classes we have been in are made more memorable because they have been there to share them with me.

The feeling I get when I get up on stage is pure excitement!  On stage your leaps feel as if you are flying and every turn feels as if you could keep spinning for hours. You feel so comfortable up there because you know that your friends and family are in the audience waiting to clap for you even if you make a mistake or worse yet have a fall.  In dance class, you feel this comfort as well.  I know my teachers are there to make me a better dancer.  If I fall, my teachers will not judge me but help me understand how to do the move better so that I won’t fall again. My teachers are always there for me and they make it easy to just let go and try new things even if you fail the first or second time. I love that about dance.  It’s not about scoring a goal or getting points, but it’s about trying to do better for yourself so that you can become a stronger dancer. Dancing at Paulette’s has taught me to be a better dancer as well as a better person.

Paulette’s has given me many opportunities including being a soloist for a group of younger kids and recently a chance to be an assistant teacher.  With only a few weeks to wait, I am so excited to begin my dance classes once again this year.

–Jocelyn Fields–

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January 2012: James Gallagher

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I couldn’t tell you when the first time I went to Paulette’s Ballet Studio was, but I was certainly very young and I don’t think I have much recollection of it. I am Paulette’s grandson. I never went there to dance.  I played hockey and lacrosse, I’d go to see my grandmother.

Recently, I went back for the first time in probably ten years. Before I say anything, I’ll warn you that I don’t know enough about dancing to critique any positions.  I slouch far too much to judge someone for posture and the last time I touched my toes with straight legs was in 8th grade.

So, I can’t speak to the dancing, but I can speak to what I saw. When I was inside the room, and class was going on, I’d watch someone, as they tried to leap or twirl. First, they had to wait in line. As they’d wait in line, they would laugh or whisper to their friends, but then they’d have to dance. Instantly, I’d see their face change as they focused. Right in front of my eyes, shedding the piled layers of their day, until the only thing that remained was the dancing. Then they’d finish. Their eyes would change and they’d laugh until it was time to dance again.  Each time they’d go, the laugh or talk would come later and leave sooner, until they’d just dance. Then, when they weren’t up, they’d be testing their posture or curling their toes, slowing down a grand movement into each small component until they had it and when they did, they’d move on to the next piece of the whole.

In this pursuit of technique, musical and beautiful, people are required to be a little better than they are most other times of the day. There’s no counterfeiting dance. It can’t be done, unless it’s done fully. Everyone there knew that and worked towards the fullness. With each attempt, each exhausting attempt, they would pull themselves closer to the dance they all saw in their heads. Or so I imagine. I’ve never danced before. I just watched. As my grandmother does now, helping them get a little closer to the dance they all have in their heads. I think getting to that dance is worth something.

Cars don’t go faster because of dance, and stomachs aren’t full because of dance, but it’s important. It gives people value and my grandmother sees that. She sees that life is something that should be enjoyed, watched, and participated in because it directly affects our happiness and our understanding of the world (even if it doesn’t change our car’s mileage.) Looking at her always reminds me, not only that it’s worth striving for something bigger but that the striving, the work, and the effort are as much the reward as the grand end. Each small victory, even if it’s only a textbook arabesque tells us that we can do what we couldn’t before.

So I start to understand why she would say, “Good spin, but straighten your back or you can’t hold it”, when I couldn’t really see a difference at all,  because getting something done well is an end in and of itself. Every well executed spin or arabesque    is the basis of the grand thing that we can only hope to touch, or the basis of each a dance number, that rattles your heart, or where the dancers seem to float above the ground. Those movements and expressions are only a string of small things done the right way. My grandmother pursues the grand and small alike, so that we both know, and can hopefully get to the dance that we see in our heads.

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September 2011: Bridget Rouhan Wess

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One of the most special things about Paulette’s is that the faculty shares a common experience with their students. It is very rare to find a studio where the entire faculty is composed of former students. The support system that exists at Paulette’s spans generations and to be a part of that has ultimately changed my life. My experience at Paulette’s has made me passionate about dance, introduced me to my best friends and provided me with the opportunity to grow as a teacher and choreographer. As a student at Paulette’s, I gained confidence and discovered what it truly meant to be dedicated, hard working and ambitious. These life skills have proven effective in school, the workplace and in my personal life.

When I was a student at Paulette’s, the studio was my safe place – where I could express myself and where my love of dance was shared by my peers (and my amazing sister, Alyssa). I fell in love with the studio from the moment I stepped foot in the door and by my senior year of high school I was taking all the classes offered to me, assisting eight classes and teaching two of my own classes at the Medfield school. I could get not get enough of the studio! I went to every summer intensive, performed on two cruises, participated in every performance opportunity offered and found myself taking advantage of every Paulette’s event possible. The annual concert was always the highlight of the year – spending countless hours at the theatre, rushing around for quick changes, getting nervous and anxious before leaving the wings and feeling a fleeting rush of adrenaline onstage.

Although I was sad to leave Paulette’s after graduating high school, I was excited to continue my journey as a dancer. I went on to get a BFA in dance performance with a concentration in ballet from Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. During school and after graduation, I had many performance opportunities including being chosen as a member of the inaugural Celtics Dance Team. Over the years, I have discovered that the one thing I love more than dancing is teaching dance. Three years ago I asked Paulette to give me as many classes as she could and I have been teaching about seventeen classes a week between the Medfield and Newton studios ever since. As a member of the faculty, I love sharing my knowledge of and passion for dance. More importantly, I like being a part of creating an environment where my students feel safe, inspired and have the opportunity to make life-long friends. The concert is still the highlight of the year – spending countless hours at the theatre, rushing around to make sure I get to see all of the dances, getting nervous and anxious sitting up in the balcony and feeling pride at the accomplishments of my students.

I am incredibly lucky to be able to do what I love five days a week. To be surrounded by a brilliant faculty and talented students has been the icing on the cake. Being a part of this dance family and legacy is something I truly treasure and feel a world of gratitude for.

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February 2011: Paulette’s Parliament by Larry Chafetz, Robert Mayer and Eddie Shammay

We would usually make our way over to Starbuck’s alone, a bunch of parents looking for some quiet time, while their children were at Paulette’s.  Once we were there, the three of us began to gravitate to each other.  Maybe it was casual acquaintances or familiar conversation, but we began to look forward to our Saturday meetings.  At first our wives didn’t understand our sudden interest in dance, but once they started talking to each other, they realized that these Saturday mornings had taken on a life of their own.  This is the origin of “Paulette’s Parliament.”

Each year as Paulette’s new classes began, our enthusiasm for our daughters’ dance grew and we decided that ballet was not enough!  They needed tap, modern, hip hop, anything that was taught consecutively on Saturday mornings.  The girls would be dropped off and we would make our way to Barry’s Deli to discuss politics, religion and solve all the problems of the world.

About three years ago we were faced with a catastrophe: one of the girls decided that she didn’t want to dance.  This brought panic.  Her father went to work immediately, so she understood the virtue of dance training and how talented she was.  Eventually, she saw how important this was (to all of us), resumed her training and needless to say, loves going to Paulette’s!

These Saturday morning parliaments have become the center of our social week.  Work and commitment occupy the weekdays, but Saturday morning we know we can take time together.  We all have family in Israel and whenever they plan a trip to visit the US, all the grandfathers and uncles can’t wait for our Paulette’s Parliament get together.  One of our fathers lives in Brookline and is often present.  Once he told us to always remember, “This is what life is all about”, a few hours with friends and family, good food and good conversation.

After the first end of the year performance, none of us could get over what the girls had learned and the all around quality of the production.  We were hooked and made a pact that we were committed to the next fifteen years of Paulette’s!  We officially formed Paulette’s Parliament.  Six years later, we are as dedicated and committed to our daughters and our time together.  Thank you Paulette.

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September 2010: The Fish Family

(Amy and Hayley Fish – Concert 2008)

AMY FISH – NIKKI AND HAYLEY’S MOM

When Paulette asked if I would write something for her Paulette’s Ballet Studio website’s blog, I thought, “what could I possibly write about?”  My daughter Hayley, 15, has been dancing at Paulette’s since she was five and my daughter Nikki, 11, has been dancing at the studio since her “Mom And Me” classes when she was 18 months old!  I have so many memories and experiences from Paulette’s studio, where would I possibly start? I’ll start with my oldest, Hayley.

Hayley loves, more than anything in the world, her classes at Paulette’s.  She has said on numerous occasions that walking into Paulette’s Ballet Studio is as comfortable as walking into her own home.  She feels that seeing all her dance friends is like seeing her family…her dance sisters.  She loves these amazing girls and after a hard day at school ,  Hayley cannot wait to unwind and blow off steam at the studio with her favorite people.

After dancing four days a week for so many years she is now dancing at her new school, Milton Academy, in their special performing arts dance program.  Many freshmen try out for this amazing program and are told to not be upset if they don’t get chosen, as most dancers don’t get in until they are at least sophomores. But Hayley, with all her technical training by Paulette, not only made this program but was given solo parts in the big winter concert as a freshmen….no easy feat.  She feels strongly that the training she’s had all these years at Paulette’s helped her tremendously, and thanks Paulette so much for inspiring her and encouraging Hayley’s passion for dance.

My daughter Nikki is a strong, muscular athlete.  She loves her lacrosse, soccer, and most of all, her dance classes.  Paulette’s dance classes help Nikki with her skills as an athlete and as a dancer.  When Nikki was seven years old, she was asked to have a solo as “Angelina Ballerina” in the Spring Concert.  She was so excited!  Dance has given Nikki confidence, poise, and wonderful self esteem.  She started dancing in the Mom And Me classes with Donna Greymont when she was eighteen months old and hasn’t stopped dancing since.  When Paulette really pushes Nikki, Nikki knows that Paulette is only trying to bring out her very best and Nikki understands that hard work truly pays off.

Every year, since I entered Paulette’s Ballet Studio, I have been a backstage/volunteer mom in the Spring Concert.  I have witnessed not only the tremendous growth of my own girls, but I have personally watched all the girls grow into not only beautiful dancers, but beautiful young women.  The experience backstage is like no other.  Watching the girls helping each other backstage during a near catastrophe before the curtain opens, whether it’s a costume tearing or a shoe buckle breaking, is truly wonderful to witness.  The bond that the backstage moms have after so many years together is equally as wonderful to experience.  I wouldn’t trade the last eleven years backstage with all these terrific girls and their amazing moms for anything in the world!

What I truly find the most amazing at Paulette’s Ballet Studio is the fact that Paulette, who has been teaching for over 50 years, knows every dancer as an individual and what is best for her regarding her dancing.  I am amazed each and every year when Paulette comments on my girl’s dancing with such detail!  How can she know each individual dancer and their strengths and weaknesses when she teaches so many dancers? This is exactly what makes Paulettes Ballet Studio the special place it is:  Paulette.

She cares about each and every dancer and wants the very best for her….always.

(Hayley Fish – Concert 2010)

HAYLEY FISH

This past season at Paulette’s marked my eleventh year of taking classes at the studio. When thinking about what to write for this month’s blog, I honestly did not know where to begin. I remember the first day at five, when I walked into Paulette’s. How intimidating it was! I was sitting in the changing area, watching, while all the advanced, older dancers rushed by, eager to get into class; that day feels like just yesterday and now, at almost sixteen, I am one of those girls! The true excitement I get every day in school while thinking about my afternoon at Paulette’s, is a feeling that is indescribable. Paulette’s has not just been a place for me to go in my afternoons to dance, but has been a haven where I can forget everything that happened that day and just let loose and have fun. Along with the memories and friends I have made at Paulette’s, I have also learned a vast amount about how I should hold myself and the qualities I know I need to have in order to be a good person.

Last year was my first year at my new high school, Milton Academy. I did not know anyone at the school, but the lessons Paulette’s has taught me became apparent. Skills, that take a lifetime to achieve, were helping me without my realizing it. I was easily able to walk right up to someone, and introduce myself: Confidence and self-esteem. Paulette, along with the other faculty at Paulette’s, has given me so much support and encouragement throughout my life, that I feel confident with myself. Which leads to my being outgoing: Since I was a little girl I have always been the loud and talkative one, but only to the people I knew. But on that first day of school, I learned that I was able to go up to anyone and start a conversation with him/her. Lastly, Paulette’s has given me many role models to show what poise and grace really look like. The way that people carry themselves when walking through the front door, is effortless. I have learned that having grace does not just show on the dance floor or at the bar, but shines through when you are in a nerve racking or uncomfortable situation. Grace comes from within, and the countless hours of ballet training has taught me to be a graceful person, wherever I go. Looking back, I understand how nerve racking the first day of Milton Academy was for some people; people who had no experience in having to put his/her self out there. I, on the other hand, found that day very enjoyable due to what I have learned at Paulette’s.

Paulette’s has given me many things pertaining and not pertaining to dance that I can use for the rest of my life. The technical aspect of Paulette’s is the reason why it is such an advanced studio, in every style and genre of dance. This past year, while at my first year at my new school, I had heard about the “Milton Academy Dance Concert” countless times. When hearing about it, I learned that it was impossible for freshman to make it into the show, due to the fact that the more advanced, and experienced upper classman usually filled all the spots. Because of the training and technically advanced classes at Paulette’s, I tried out for the dance concert, and created a spot for myself in a significant amount of dances! I know that my accomplishment of making it into the dance concert would not be possible if I did not have the  training that I was given at Paulette’s., Paulette’s has taught me many things not only about the dancing and performing world, but about how I want to be and live as person throughout my life. The goals that I have for myself, as well as the unconditional love and support I am given by the faculty and my friends, is what encourages me to step through the Paulette’s door every day.

(Hayley and Nikki Fish at Nikki’s Pre-Ballet Performance)

NIKKI FISH

I started dancing at Paulette’s Ballet Studio when I was only 18 months old in the Mom and Me class. Starting out so young, I didn’t realize then that Paulette’s would have such an impact on my life. Each class I took, I would point my toes until they hurt and leap until my legs were perfectly straight. Most importantly, my dancing progressed more and more each day. I tried my hardest to think a couple steps ahead when practicing each of my dances so I would be fully prepared. When my mom got a call from Paulette asking if I would like to do a solo, I was only seven.  I realized how lucky I was to have this amazing opportunity. When I found out that I had to memorize and perform a paragraph from “Angelina Ballerina” in front of a huge audience, I was terrified. I didn’t want to let Paulette down by not being able to memorize the words, but at first I didn’t think that I had the patience and discipline to memorize the piece.  From then on, every car ride, short or long, until I went to bed each night, I would practice the English-accented verse!  I still can recite it today.   I was so excited to go to class on Saturdays, where I practiced my solo in front of the four and five year old class. I vividly remember seeing each little girl’s face light up as I showed them my solo. The highlight of that time, however, was watching Paulette’s smile, each time I performed for her. This memorable time in my life will stay with me forever! The experience taught me that hard work and commitment can lead to succeeding in whatever you may do. Whether it’s speaking to a crowd in a foreign accent, or studying for a big math test, you just have to remember that everything will pay off in the end. Now, three years later, I’m still dancing at Paulette’s and am loving it more then ever! Paulette’s Ballet Studio has taught me not only amazing dance skills, but also life lessons and experiences that I will carry with me throughout my life. I have no idea what my life would be like with out Paulette’s Ballet Studio.  My experiences here will stay in my heart forever!

(Nikki Fish – Concert 2010)

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April/May 2010: Lois Dashef Siegelman

In honor of Paulette Ballet Studio’s 50th Anniversary, we have invited Lois Dashef Siegelman, one of Paulette’s very first students, to make this month’s contribution. Enjoy!

My first experience with Paulette occurred during the 250th anniversary celebration of the founding of the Town of Needham in 1960. Paulette had recently opened her new dance studio in Needham and was asked to choreograph two dance numbers for this major celebration-a Can-Can and a Rockette number. At the time, I was a sophomore at Needham High School, having recently moved to the town. I had been taking dance lessons in Boston since I was 3, focused on classical ballet training.

I had an immersion into a new style of dance that I came to love. I quickly learned that Paulette had danced at Radio City Music Hall, that she was a soloist, not a Rockette, but had been influenced by the production numbers at Radio City. I so enjoyed dancing for Paulette that I became a student at PBS. I loved the jazz classes even more than the ballet and loved all the intricate routines that we learned. I fondly remember our demonstration classes at Dance Teacher’s Club of Boston. I still have copies of the routines we did with instructions on the dances. I even remember some of the steps to the Baby Elephant Walk after all these years. I continued to take lessons from Paulette for 8 years through high school and college.

Did you know that Paulette used to choreograph college and community theater productions, as well as run a dance studio, and successfully raise three talented daughters with the support of her husband, Paul? I danced for Paulette in “The Pajama Game” in 1964 for the Needham Community Theatre. I was thrilled to serve as her assistant choreographer at Boston College when she choreographed “Roar of the Greasepaint, Smell of the Crowd” for the BC Dramatics Society in 1968. These shows were my introduction to being involved in choreography and theater. I went on from there to choreograph other productions at Boston College and a number of local community theatre groups. I am still a big fan of musical theater and attend every show that I can.

I was glad to be able to attend the 25th anniversary of PBS. I look forward to enjoying the 50th with Paulette, Pauline, Paula, Paulette Jr. and the extended PBS family. I cannot believe that 50 years have gone by since my first dance experience with Paulette. I want to take the opportunity in this forum to thank Paulette for all she taught me and for all the opportunities she gave me to find fulfillment through dance. I have since gone on to have a successful full-time career in healthcare administration, raise a family while working, and keep dance/choreography as my avocation. Paulette-thank you for being a role model and mentor.
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February/March 2010: Samantha and Allison Heesch

Samantha Heesch: Studying Dance to Perform Better In Athletics

My daughter Samantha is an avid athlete. Her coaches suggested last spring that she build up her “core”. After trying numerous exercises that did not help, I found Paulette’s Ballet Studio. At Paulette’s Sam has been enrolled in both Ballet and Jazz. Although she is not “dancer” she has gained core strength, improved balance, better agility, and coordination. That has led to Sam achieving The Coaches Award in Field Hockey. – Allison Heesch

At Paulette’s Ballet Studio I have made new friends and have had a lot of fun! When I had my first Ballet class, I could not even hold a split. Now, I can do a full split on my right side. I am so glad I am at Paulette’s because I feel more graceful and lady-like when I am at party’s or doing a speech in front of my grade. Every Thursday I get excited because I get to go to dance. I am now much more flexible and can get rebounds much quicker in Basketball – Sam Heesch

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November 2009: Andrea Rittenburg Segel

 

Andrea with her daughter, Olivia

Andrea with her daughter, Olivia

Will she love it as much as I did? That is the question that I asked myself this past summer, as it came time to enroll my daughter in her first ballet class.

Like every good parent does, I did my due diligence trying to find a studio that would be the perfect fit for my daughter as well as fulfill my own criteria. We live in Wayland so I started my search there, and then moved on to Weston and Wellesley…and then on to Natick and Waltham. It’s sufficient to say that I was not happy with the choices available, so we moved on to Newton.

Olivia needed a studio that would foster her creativity in a nurturing environment. I wanted one that would provide formal dance training with an emphasis on classical technique. I wanted her studio to be like mine was; a magical place where she could learn some of life’s most important lessons. I wanted a studio where her hard work, tenacity and determination would be rewarded not only with beautiful lines and gorgeous pirouettes, but with grace, poise and self confidence. I wanted her to learn the meaning of pas de deux, while learning what it means to be a true friend. Lastly, but most importantly, I wanted her teachers to be mentors and role models like mine were; encouraging Olivia to strive for everything she thinks she can be.

My search led us to Paulette’s ballet studio, where I knew we would end up all along. This is the magical, nurturing studio that I grew up at. I started at age four and danced there until I graduated from high school. Paulette was like a second mother to me and the studio was my home away from home. If I wasn’t taking class, I was teaching class or helping out around the studio. Paulette’s provided me with an excellent training ground for life. Academics always came first in my house and I couldn’t spend time at the studio unless my parents could see that I was performing to the best of my ability academically. In these formative years I learned how to prioritize, multitask and achieve. The lessons that I learned there have served me well in my professional career as well as my personal life.

On a hot August day this past summer we went to register for class. I was so excited for Olivia but I was careful not to push my excitement on her. On the car ride to the studio I talked to Olivia about how special it was for me that she was going to study with Miss Paulette. I didn’t expect her to understand being only five, but she did. I walked into the studio and a flood of memories came rushing back to me. There was Paulette at the registration table with her flowing platinum hair and her beautiful blue eyes. It was like I never left.

It is Saturday morning 9:00 a.m. and I’m watching my daughter at the barre along with the rest of her class. This is one of the classes that I used to help teach and it was always my favorite. I give my daughter a reassuring wink and thumbs up from the glass window and she smiles back. Today’s lesson: Pique. Olivia watches in amazement as her teachers effortlessly perform pique turns across the length of the studio. I remember being her age and feeling that sense of wonderment. Suddenly I’m overwhelmed. My baby is doing a pique! Two months ago she didn’t know first position and now she’s learning how to pique. I see her looking at herself in the mirror and I see self confidence staring back.

Class ends and I greet her in the waiting area. Olivia asks if we can watch the next class for a few minutes. How can I refuse? I think she loves it!

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August 2009: Michelina and Sandie Petruzziello

My name is Michelina and I am eight years old. I have been dancing at Paulette’s Ballet Studio for four years. I love dancing at Paulette’s because it is fun and I love the way I feel when I put on my ballet shoes and start dancing. When the music starts I feel excited to learn. I enjoy learning new steps. It makes me so happy inside to be dancing at Paulette’s. I love how Paulette and her teachers teach me ballet. I feel so proud at the end of the year when I get to perform my dance at the concert. It is a great feeling that I will never forget.

My name is Sandie and as Michelina’s mom, I feel very fortunate to be a part of Paulette’s extensive dance family. Paulette is a wonderful woman who has opened her heart and arms to so many dancers. Her life long dance experiences and her never ending passion for dance keep a beautiful twinkle in her eyes. Her energy is endless!!!! I love looking through the glass window at the studio and watching Paulette do what she does best! So many dreams have been dreamed at her studio and so many dreams have come true! I am so proud of the way that Michelina’s confidence and technical ability have grown over the past four years through the constant dedication of Paulette and her teachers. I look forward to being a part of Michelina’s journey to become the best dancer she can be.

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May 2009: Donna Barisano Greymont

I have been a part of Paulette’s Ballet Studio for over forty years! I started as a student and am currently on the faculty, teaching pre-school ballet, Mom & Me classes, and beginner teen ballet and jazz classes. Paulette loves to tell the story of how my mom asked if I could take ballet, but I was only three years old. Paulette usually didn’t take children under the age of 5, but she gave in and started her first pre-school ballet class. It’s pretty amazing that now I am teaching the pre-schoolers!

Dancing is a passion for everyone that is involved with Paulette’s Ballet Studio. The faculty is really an amazingly talented and dedicated group of people, who hold the students as the top priority. Paulette has created this priority and this passion for dance.

My own daughter, Samantha, “graduated” from Paulette’s in 2008. There was never a question is my mind that I would enroll her at Paulette’s too. So, she started a 3 years old and has never left! She’s 18 now, away at college, and still dancing. It is a bond we share…thanks to Paulette.

Paulette means so much to us; a place to belong, a place of learning, a place of friendship and hard work. Paulette has shaped our lives and I can truly say we wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing right now without her and all of the faculty and staff at the studio.

We have met our life long friends at Paulette’s Ballet Studio and we gained our “second mother” by being taught by Paulette.

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