Hear It From A Ballerina
May 01, 2024

Hear It From A Ballerina

In the spirit of International Dance Day, we're thrilled to spotlight the remarkable journey of Kenzie Thomas, a professional ballerina whose passion for dance pushes boundaries. From her early days in dance classes to entering the stage as a soloist in productions like Orlando Ballet’s.

Today, as we delve into Kenzie's world, we explore not only her career milestones but also the challenges she's overcome with resilience and grace. Amidst the demands of her profession, Kenzie finds comfort and support in the little things, such as the right footwear. SHASHI grip socks are a staple in Kenzie's dance essentials. As she embarks on her rigorous training regimen, these socks provide not only style but also essential grip and comfort, enhancing her performance and confidence with each movement. So, whether you're a ballerina, yogi, or barre lover, take Kenzie’s advice and add SHASHI grip socks to your wardrobe.

Can you tell us about your journey into the world of ballet? What inspired you to pursue it professionally?

My mom put me into dance classes when I was 3yrs old, and I’ve stuck with it ever since. I grew up more as a competitive dancer, competing in mostly contemporary, lyrical, and jazz, but didn’t get into serious ballet until I was 15 years old. After attending a ballet summer intensive at 15, I fell in love with classical ballet and knew from that moment that I wanted to be a professional ballerina.

What have been some of the most memorable moments in your career as a professional ballerina so far?

Every experience I’ve had professionally has been special in its own way, but one of my most memorable moments would have to be dancing the soloist role of Zulma in Orlando Ballet’s, Giselle.

Could you share with us some of the challenges you've faced as a professional dancer, and how you've overcome them?

Dancers face many struggles not only physically, but mentally. Injuries happen quite often due to our physical demands. I’ve had to undergo a hip labrum repair back in 2020, and recently had knee surgery in April of 2023. I am thankful that both recoveries went very smoothly and I am back dancing like nothing happened. One of the biggest challenges I have faced thus far, would be being diagnosed with Graves’ disease in 2023. Graves is an autoimmune disease which attacks the thyroid causing extreme hyperthyroidism. I was very sick for about 3 months, before I found out what was wrong with me. It took a huge toll not only on my health and mental state, but my dancing. It was a very tough 2 years of my life, and I never thought I would be the same, but I wouldn’t change what happened to me, because it has only made me stronger in all areas of my life. I am now healthy, and am back dancing so strong!

What does a typical day in the life of a professional ballerina look like for you?

I have danced professionally with two companies (Orlando Ballet/Colorado Ballet), but am currently taking an off season to really focus on my health and my ballet training. My day in the life currently looks a little bit different than when I was with a company. I dance usually 5-6 days a week, around 3-7hrs a day. Usually my mornings consist of taking Pilates or gyrotonic to help with my strength for ballet. In the afternoons, I am usually at the studio dancing. I am also a Pilates instructor, so I usually am teaching throughout the week as well.

How do you approach rehearsals and preparing for performances? Do you have any rituals or routines?

I wouldn’t say I really have any rituals or routines for rehearsals, but for performances I do. I always make sure I’m super hydrated, and I need to have protein before every show. I also love to eat some chocolate or have a few sips of a caffeinated drink to give me that extra burst of energy.

How do SHASHI socks enhance your performance or comfort during rehearsals and performances?

When I wear SHASHI socks, I feel like the support me in all the right spots, while still allowing my feet to work properly. Not only are they stylish, but they also enhance my natural arch, and simply just make my feet look better! Who doesn’t want that?

How do you maintain your physical and mental well-being while balancing the demands of being a professional dancer?

I’ve found that having balance is key for both my physical and mental well-being. I make it a priority to do many things outside of dancing so that I am able to keep a healthy relationship with ballet and keep my passion going. I love to spend time with my family/friends, travel, cook, etc.

What advice would you give to aspiring dancers who hope to pursue a career in ballet?

Some advice I would give to aspiring dancers would be to not compare yourself to other dancers. In the end, YOU are your biggest competition.

What are some of your future goals or aspirations within the world of ballet?

Honestly just to perform as much as possible, and to someday become a principal dancer!

How do you balance the artistic aspects of ballet with the technical demands of the discipline?

When I was training to become a professional, it required a lot of focus on technique and discipline. Once I went pro, I was able to then explore more of my artistic side and focus primarily on that rather than just the technical side. Once you become professional, you then learn a lot how to keep a balance with both. A lot of it comes with age and maturity, and I’m still exploring my artistic side each and every day.

Could you share some insights into the importance of proper footwear and attire for dancers?

Ballerinas know the importance & difference it makes when you have reliable pointe shoes, and the difference it can make in your confidence and performance. The same goes for having reliable grip socks. I know I can rely on SHASHI socks everyday to help me through my hours of cross training each week. They truly are the best socks on the market.

What are some of your favorite SHASHI sock styles, and why do you prefer them?

I’ve tried a lot of different grip socks, and SHASHI socks are the first socks I’ve tried that I feel like actually work and keep their grip. My favorite style would have to be the STAR Sparkle Mesh socks. I get compliments on them every time I wear them, and I love that they are so lightweight. I can still feel my whole foot working in them, and I love it!

Is there anything we did not touch on and you would like to mention?

Whether you are a ballerina, or pilates girl, you have to add SHASHI socks to your wardrobe. You can thank me later;)

Follow Kenzie Thomas: @kenzieethomas