Mentor: Julia Rust, Joffrey Ballet
Mentee: Kera Fernstrom
Photo Credit: Joe Lyman
Were you able to meet up with your each other? If so, describe that experience!
How did you communicate with each other?
Julia: I mostly Facetimed with Kera, and I was able to speak with her one time face-to-face. Although we were able to communicate and discuss wonderfully via Facetime, I found that being able to talk in person helped me fully understand her technical questions and concerns.
Kera: I am very fortunate that Julia and I live in the same city, and because of that, we were able to meet. That experience was amazing because we got to work in the Joffrey Studios, and I felt like I could really get to know her more in person, instead of through a screen.
What were some aspects you were able to learn from one another?
Julia: I learned that even when you might not know, someone is always looking up to you, and you should always set the best possible example. I also learned a lot about the different options young dancers have and all the different career paths within dance.
Kera: I learned a lot from Julia, but some of the bigger things were: summer intensive suggestions, audition tips, stretches that are good for warming up before a performance or class, and tips for improving technique.
What topics were you able to share and discuss together?
Julia: We spoke a lot about performing, and how to prepare not only your body but also your mind and emotions before going on stage. It’s not something that has a guidebook, as it is different for every dancer, so I enjoyed being a small part of helping Kera in her journey of figuring out what is best for her.
I also enjoyed discussing the different kinds of dance companies and career options there are, and learning more about what Kera’s goals are. Figuring out what steps to take to help her achieve her goals reminded me a lot of my own experiences growing up, and I feel like being someone with whom she could relate helped lighten an otherwise stressful experience.
Kera: I got to share some experiences I’ve had with bullying, the challenges of growing, and dealing with the pressure and nerves from competitions.
As a mentor, how did this program help you connect with a younger generation of dancers?
Julia: This program helped me connect with a younger generation of dancers by giving me the opportunity to become close with Kera; I was able to speak with and (hopefully) help her make important decisions that have the power to shape the life she leads. This program showed me a lot of what younger dancers can go through and made me more aware of the challenges and decisions they can face. I feel like I am more equipped to help others in similar situations. I also feel well-informed on how I can set the best example possible.
As a mentee, how did the mentorship program enhance your life as a dancer? Best piece of advice or inspiration you received from your mentor?
Kera: The mentorship program helped because I was able to speak to a professional that knows the do’s and don'ts of this career. The best piece of advice that I received from Julia was to always stay humble and kind, to work hard, and lastly to be thankful for every opportunity that comes my way.
As participants in the PointePeople mentorship program, the dancers were also able to test various colors and shades of Pointe Paint.
What features did you like about Pointe Paint?
Julia: I love the easy application process; I used to always get splotches on my pointe shoes whenever I needed them another color. Pointe Paint makes it easy to have an even tone and full coverage.
Kera: I love how fun and easy it is to use. I can get my pointe shoes done in less than an hour. I also like that it is water-based, so it won’t stain anything.
What are the benefits of Pointe Paint versus conventional pointe shoe dye?
Julia: I have never found a color for my skin that matches as well as Pointe Paint; that alone makes it superior! It is incredibly easy to use and effective in every way. The amount of nude shades it comes in is great, and all of the colors are useful and fun at the same time.
Did you use Pointe Paint for a specific role or just experiment with it?
Julia: I used Buttermilk in the Joffrey Ballet’s production of Anna Karenina. I also experimented with Macadamia, Victoria Paige Red, Dahlia, and Rajani (Black).
Kera: Both! I used it for many photo shoots, including the one I did with Julia, and I am using it for an upcoming role for The Nutcracker.
Favorite shade or color of Pointe Paint?
Julia: It’s a tie between Macadamia and Victoria Paige Red.
Kera: I love all the colors that Pointe Paint has come out with. I can’t choose just one favorite because they are all amazing, so my two favorites are Victoria Paige Red and Marigold.
Which color would you love to try next?
Kera: I really want to try Coral, Matcha, Turmeric, and Sunshine!