Perspective: Mentorship Interview with Mentee, Jacey Gailliard

Name: Jacey Gailliard
Age: 16
Where are you from/Where do you live? I am from Philadelphia PA, but I currently live in San Francisco, CA for ballet training. (San Francisco Ballet School)
Mentor: Amanda Smith, Dance Theatre of Harlem

What made you want to be a part of the PointePeople Mentorship Program?
I wanted to be a part of this program because I saw a lot of posts on Instagram
about it and videos of the previous mentees. [I saw] how the program affected them, and based on how this school year was going and the fact that everything going on is and was so strange and foreign, I thought it would be an exciting thing for me to try to do to help build a relationship and improve my dancing.

Why did you want to work with your particular mentor?
I wanted to work with my particular mentor because I felt that I could not only
relate to her and learn from her dancing and as an artist, but I could also relate as
an African American dancer. I felt that I needed to learn from a person of color, as
we have very different experiences in the dance world than people who are not of
color. I knew that Amanda would grant me great wisdom as a dancer, artist,
and as an African American woman in 2020.

Jacey Gailliard © Rachel Neville Photography
Jacey Gailliard © Rachel Neville Photography

What is your favorite part of the program, so far?
So far, my favorite part of the program is that we are able to take classes from the
other mentors and professionals that are participating in the program as well.

Is there anything unexpected you’ve learned or experienced through the program, so far?
Something unexpected for me that I experienced through the program was
building [relationships] with some of the other mentees. I thought that each mentee would solely be focused on themselves and their relationship with their mentor. Still, I have talked with and enjoyed hearing about the other mentees experiences within the program.

Best advice you’ve received from your mentor?
The best advice I have received from my mentor was during our second coffee
chat, where we discussed personal health and how to keep your body strong and
healthy. I was wondering how Amanda was able to stop comparing herself to
other dancers in the aspect of one's body. It is very natural for someone to look at
someone and say, “She has longer legs than me, better feet, and is skinnier", 
which almost every dancer struggles with, but it is directly the hardest part in ballet for me to deal with.

Jacey Gailliard © Rachel Neville Photography
Jacey Gailliard © Rachel Neville Photography

What would you tell anyone who is considering applying to be a mentee in the future?
I would tell someone who is considering applying to be a mentee in the future to
not get discouraged, regardless of your outcome, or if you are chosen to be a
mentee this semester or not. Every mentor is an amazing artist and dancer, and that is why they are chosen to be apart of the program; even if you don’t get picked for this particular semester, it is amazing to be on PointePeople's radar as well as the mentors' radars. Who knows, maybe for the next semester you will be

How is this program helping you to grow as an artist and dancer?
This program has helped me grow as an artist and a dancer not only physically, but also mentally. The coffee chats were so helpful to me because it is one thing to take a class with a professional, but it is different when you are able to work with them on a personal level.

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