My day job is founder and director of the Central Midwest Ballet Academy. Our program is designed to create an environment where dancers can feel supported as they work to achieve their best—whether that’s at a professional or recreational level. Our studio is committed to meeting the needs of the whole person and recognizes that our students are more than dancers.
I grew up in Pennsylvania and when I came to the Midwest I was struck by the fact that there weren’t many training options for serious dancers. Those who wanted to pursue this career professionally had to move away from home at a young age—just like a potential Olympian might. I wanted to create a place where serious dancers could gain the skills and performance exposure they needed without having to make that move. But this studio is also accessible to those who love to dance but don’t necessarily see themselves doing it professionally.
My most memorable caffeine was the chocolate-covered espresso beans I used to munch before a performance. I got the caffeine without having to worry about messing up my lipstick! Plus I thought they’d help me avoid “coffee breath,” a benefit for my partners!
My current caffeine of choice is a dark roast with a little cream. I do like a mocha that’s light on the chocolate—I want to be able to taste the coffee.
My favorite place for caffeine is the Lakeside St. Coffee House. They serve their lattes and mochas at just the right temperature—you can drink them right away—and I love the atmosphere and lake access, especially on a beautiful fall day.
The person I’d love to share a cup of caffeine with is Walt Disney. He revolutionized entertainment and I’m so impressed by the fact that he changed his career path late in life—I believe that he was fired from an earlier job for not being creative enough! I also love the fact that he was able to create “the happiest place” on earth, one that’s been enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds. It would be great to sit down with him and hear the stories behind his movies, the revolutionary things he did in entertainment—like creating the Disney parks and tying merchandise to movies. I know there have been various controversies related to him over the years—it would be fascinating to be able to ask him about them.
World problem that could be solved with the right amount of caffeine: Think of what we could accomplish if we got outside ourselves and shared our problems, joys and life experiences and took the time to understand others’ perspectives—if we took the time to have real conversations that went beyond small talk.