alumni profile: stephanie fenz rohletter / by Goleta School of Ballet

stephanie fenz rohletter (1998 - 2001)

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What years did you study at the Goleta School of Ballet?

1998-2001

How old were you when you started ballet?

I was 3 when I started "creative dance," 7 when I started classical ballet.

In what capacity did you continue to dance after leaving high school?

I left San Marcos High School after my junior year to study at Pacific Northwest Ballet School in Seattle. I finished my high school diploma by correspondence, and studied at PNBS for three years. While there I studied with the school as well as danced in performances with the company. In 2004 I was hired into Ballet West in Salt Lake City as an apprentice, was promoted to corps de ballet member in 2005 and danced with the company until 2009.

How do you think doing ballet as a child & teenager helped or influenced you later in life?

I became a ballet dancer because of the way I am. But doing ballet through my life enhanced these characteristics even more, and helped to shape the person that am today. Ballet requires a tremendous amount of discipline, work ethic, and most of all determination. Ballet requires the dancer to attempt to achieve perfection every day, even though perfection is always just out of reach. So every day you strive towards that ideal, you can never be idol. Today I apply these principles to everything I do. I am an idealist, I always want what I do to be better. This keeps me working hard every day, in anything I am doing!

What was your favorite role you danced professionally?

My favorite role and ballet was corps in Serenade. When I performed this with Ballet West at The Kennedy Center I almost started crying during final bows, it was just so moving to dance an amazing piece of choreography to such beautiful music in front of so many people.

What advice do you have for young dancers when setting goals for improvement?

My advice for young dancers setting goals for improvement is to pick only one to two goals at a time, then work your toosh off until you reach them! You want to pick something attainable, then practice practice practice until you get it right. Stay after class to practice, ask your teacher to help you, and sometimes asking a fellow student to help you works the best.  The boys in ballet west used to have "friendly competitions" over who could do the most pirouettes, and it really helped them improve! Most importantly don't let yourself get frustrated, don't give up on your goals. If something just won't work for you that day, hang up your pointe shoes and come back and try it again the next day. Ballet is about trying to be perfect, but no one is perfect, so don't let it get you down when you're not perfect!

What are you currently doing?

After retiring from Ballet West I enrolled at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale's International Culinary School. I attended AI from 2010 to 2012 and received my Associates in Arts in Baking and Pastry in June of 2012. While studying at AI I worked as a server, restaurant supervisor, and finally a baker at the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort and Spa. While there I met my now husband, Clint Rohletter. In June of 2012 we moved to Atlanta. I now work as a Restaurant Supervisor at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.

Further thoughts?

I just want to thank Lisa and Emily for being such great friends, role models and teachers through what was a pretty difficult time in my life. I met Emily in my freshman year of high school in Theatre Arts class. Although I was a "bunhead" with an XFiles binder and Dance magazines in my backpack she befriended me without question. I had just left my former ballet school and lost a lot of my friends because of it, and Emily invited me to take classes with her mom at the GVCC. Lisa was one of the kindest, most intelligent teachers I had. She was always so sweet when teaching classes, but at the same time didn't let you quit when you were tired and always had great corrections when a certain move wasn't going as planned. They supported me in all of my endeavors, and I'm so glad I got to be a part of their wonderful school! Thank you Lisa and Emily :)

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Photos: Stephanie Fenz at Ballet West