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Take Back the Tutu 2015 Campaign

What is Beauty to You?

Diversity within our company is at our foundation. Our differences make us stronger as a family and help define our goals and confirm our dedication to the trade. Our art is our number one priority – and presenting it genuinely without covering up any part of who we are has become our focus.

Last year we talked about taking ownership of our art. We did this in number of ways: from striking “City” from Saint Paul City Ballet to putting on a season as an artist-led dance company to literally writing down how we really feel about our bodies. This year we’re discussing what beauty really means to us.

We want to know: What is beauty to you? How have you changed in the last year? Have you taken back your tutu? This year, we want to inspire you to take the next step in your journey to embracing every part of you.

Our hope is that this message encourages and empowers you. You are enough, you are important, and you are beautiful!

Photography by Caroline Yang


Beauty to me is when a person has become a brighter light after going through struggles. You can see it in their eyes and posture. You can see it in their actions, reactions and composure. A beautiful person has lived life and found the beauty within the struggle. They’ve allowed themselves to be molded and have become wise through their experiences. Through all of this their true self shines through and their light is felt by those around them. This is beauty to me.
-Amber Genetzky, Company Member

Beauty comes from your soul. It comes from accepting your beauty within and becoming comfortable with it. Then it becomes contagious and radiates into the world.
I think beauty can be masked by fear and uncertainty. Therefore it is important to pay attention to those things that open your heart. It starts with doing something that makes you happy. For me a main source of happiness in my life is dance. Dance opens up my heart, and it’s hard for me to explain exactly how because it is very personal to me. This may seem strange considering it is something I perform in front of an audience. But I think that that’s the point.
Beauty is something you can hold on to because it’s who you are. It’s something a person sees in you without you having to say a word because with the acceptance of your beauty you allow the world to see it. And no matter what it looks like, it’s beautiful.
-Shamira Sirr, Company Apprentice


I have always found myself to be an observer. Imagery speaks to me more than the written language. In our very busy, over-stimulated, and active lifestyles we live today, we create beautiful pictures we call our life. These moments can be easy to overlook. Taking the first sip of that fresh brewed coffee in the morning. Having a phone call or text from a loved one. Hearing laughter after a funny joke. The list is endless. Capturing these daily occurrences into one single instant can be challenging but taking a moment to observe from an outside perspective makes the picture rather beautiful. To me, so much beauty can be discovered with these simple moments on a daily beginning.
-Jarod Boltjes, Company Dancer

Beauty to me is imperfection. It is recognizing that there is no ideal image and having the confidence to wear your personal image on the surface. The flaws, the unique tendencies, and the misfit puzzle pieces are all what gives someone their individuality. They are never things that should cause shame or be hidden. Having strength and being firmly grounded on these principals is when true beauty is allowed to shine through.
-Hannah Johnson, Company Apprentice


Beauty is simple and is a feeling. To me it is being generous and kind. It is giving yourself to your audience or giving your time to help a friend. Being genuine is an important part of this because when you fake your generosity it is felt by everyone. Beauty is hard work – it’s finding that part of you that is honestly willing to do that hard work even when half of you would rather stay home.
Beauty is what I feel on stage because you can’t be anything but beautiful. It is ALWAYS all or nothing when the curtain rises. It is ALWAYS generous or it isn’t. Honest or it isn’t. The difference is 100% clear to the audience even if they don’t know it. When you make them feel something it’s because you gave yourself up to them on the stage – you were beautiful.
-Brittany Adams, Company Dancer

The Oxford English dictionary defines beauty as a combination of qualities such as shape, color, or form that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight. Why is ballet beautiful? Because it expresses great complexity in such a simplistic manner. Beauty isn’t complicated, and there isn’t one cookie cutter definition of beauty – in just Hebrew and Greek alone there are twenty different words that all translate as beauty. Beauty, just like people, are always evolving. That lack of stagnation is what makes something – art, people, nature – beautiful.
-Hayley Howe, Company Apprentice


It all really comes down to the details. Something such as a slight inclination of the head is what can differentiate a nice dancer and a beautiful dancer. The little things really do matter, and I have an intense respect and appreciation for dancers who can grasp that. You can always work up to the physical perfection of a step, but there’s a difference in doing it and dancing it. The use of the head and eyes are often easily forgotten, but it’s what completes the intention of the movement. I believe any story can be told through dance, but only successfully if the eyes are present to complete the puzzle. The beauty of dance truly lies in the details. That’s real artistry.
-Nicole Brown, Company Dancer

When the word ballerina is mentioned, it is often associated with strength, elegance, grace, an other-worldliness, or beauty. A ballet dancer’s beauty is skin deep though. As dancers, it is known that our abilities will eventually lessen. We have many years of training and hopefully a long career as a professional, but the human body eventually wears out. I think beauty is a quality that begins in the heart; whatever is inside, eventually comes out. Regardless of how physically beautiful or talented someone is, an ugly heart will always become more obvious than appearance. Beauty fades, a good soul does not.
-Anna Roehr, Company Dancer


Beauty is an ever-evolving quality. It can be recognized in many ways. One may find beauty in a body, a personality, an emotion, a voice, even an idea. Thus, beauty can be observed, sensed, felt, heard, and created. The ballerina is thought by many to be the complete embodiment of beauty. Often, a ballerina is associated with the beauty of grace, elegance, figure, and confidence. I think of beauty as the recognizable result of strength.
Beauty is the strength that is seen in every muscular movement a dancer performs; the strength that is sensed in a dancer’s never-ending determination to push further every day in the studio; the strength that is felt in the grin that spreads across a dancer’s face as she lands a perfect pirouette; the strength that is heard in the deep exhalations a dancer takes as she exits stage. The strength of the ballerina is what creates the magical beauty an audience anxiously anticipates as the curtain opens. The ultimate embodiment of a dancer’s beauty resides in the strength she has to persevere and attain the unimaginable.
– Zoe Henrot, Company Dancer

I ultimately view beauty as pertaining to the spirit. It’s about joy, peace and love that become expressed outwardly whether that’s in a person, nature, animals, etc. And for me, all this comes from God. In essence, God is beauty.
-Joanna Lowry, Company Dancer


To me, beauty is the confidence to be one’s self. It is finding what naturally comes to you, and having enough pride to recognize and trust it. In my opinion, the most beautiful people are those who know what they’ve got and own up to it. I believe that the ability one has to accept themselves as a legitimate representation of a beautiful human being is in itself beautiful. Once that trust is established within one’s self, they show an uninhibited and truthful side that in my opinion is the most beautiful thing one can show.
Preston Stockert, Company Dancer

I remember the first time I did not feel beautiful. As an adolescent I had a major growth spurt and was suddenly taller than most boys in my class. I was often teased for being flat chested and felt very un-beautiful. I was already very serious about ballet and since I had the ballet “body type” the comments only slightly hurt. However, as my body changed I began a different struggle. I had once been the thin girl, but now I was the “big” girl, “tall” girl, and to me the not so beautiful girl.

I ended up quitting ballet after High School because of this struggle. I began to hate ballet, which was the thing I had loved most. I had a love, hate relationship with ballet and my view of beauty for many years.

Having my daughter Nadya has challenged my view of beauty completely. When I first became pregnant I worried that those old struggles would come back as I gained baby weight. However I loved this new body. Maybe I didn’t look the same in a leotard anymore, but it was strangely liberating Nadya is now a year old and I see that beauty really is a journey. She is constantly changing and it is the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced. It reminds me of my journey. I too have changed over the years along
-Jacqueline McDaniel, Company Dancer

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