This company director always takes the ballet

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Working in an American company can be a chore, so for many, vacations are a welcome opportunity to relax and unwind. But for Jane Collier, it is an opportunity to intensify her training in ballet.

Although she is based in Chicago, where she works in global sourcing for Walgreens Boots Alliance, in recent years she has attended summer internships at the American Ballet Theater in New York City at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow and, more recently, at the Royal Danish Ballet. in Copenhagen.


Dance in the ABT studios. Courtesy collar

“The crash courses give me the best of both worlds – travel and great training,” says Collier, who looks for solid ballet programs in places she would love to visit. “I love meeting other students from all over the world. In an age where so much is polarizing, dance extends beyond language and borders. The shared experience of striving to be at one’s own. better is a very galvanizing feeling. “

And although most of the Summer Intensive participants are pre-professionals who have not yet graduated from high school, Collier isn’t put off by his age. “I ask them if they would consider admitting older students and let my hearing speak for itself – the worst they can say is no.”

“It is extremely important to me that my dedication and desire comes through when I audition and participate in the intensive. I want to present myself every day ready to work hard, absorb and grow as a dancer. I might be a little older, but I want to show how happy I am to be here, “says Collier.” No one ever has to remind me to look like they’re having fun. “

An open square in front of the great Bolshoi Theater.  The sky is blue.  Collier is standing at a bar in front of the theater, which features enlarged ballet photos placed in glass.

Collier in front of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. Courtesy collar

Throughout the year, she regularly takes technique and spikes, as well as CorePower Yoga for cross training. Natalie Rast, who caters to adult ballet dancers of all skill levels at Rast Ballet, is a favorite teacher she credits with helping her refine her technique. And when Collier is in her downtown business office, she’s taking classes at the Joffrey Academy of Dance.

But no matter how well she prepares, swapping her desk for a dance studio on a crash course is always mentally and physically draining. “Thank goodness for the coffee,” she jokes.

Strakhova (left) hugs Collier as Strakhova stands.  Both women wear ballet slippers, pink tights, ballet skirts and black leotards, as they stand in a ballet studio.

Necklace with Bolshoi Body Dancer Anastasia Strakhova (left), whom she met during training in Moscow. Courtesy collar

Collier’s love of ballet dates back to his childhood. Even when she decided to pursue other career paths, she knew that didn’t necessarily mean giving up ballet. “I always knew inherently that I didn’t have the proper physical attributes to be a professional ballet dancer. But I enjoyed training so much that it didn’t matter.” Example: she insisted when she auditioned for a crash course in high school that required a letter of recommendation in which her teacher wrote: “I hope you will accept Jane so that she realizes that the ballet world does not. is not for her. “

When it came time for undergraduate studies, Collier says she even chose her school, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, for its dance department. She trained with the majors in dance while obtaining three diplomas (economics, international studies and French) and a minor in Chinese (Mandarin) –and she graduated early. “I realized that I could still train at a high level and have other career aspirations.”

Even with her impressive collection of degrees (she went on to earn her MBA from Duke University), Collier doesn’t hesitate to acknowledge that ballet has helped her career. “It instilled confidence, a work ethic and balance,” she says. “When I come across difficult meetings or presentations, I consciously remember to pull down through my shoulder blades and up through my collarbones. It does wonders! “

“I might not make my salary dancing,” says Collier, “but it can still be a big part of who I am and what I do. “


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