Heart | Ballerina Blog

February 13, 2017



“Only do what your heart tells you.” ~ Princess Diana



Heart. Love. February. Valentine’s Day. These are not simple words. These words carry weight, emotion, memories and for some, l-o-n-g-i-n-g. 


The concept of heart rules because it has so many meanings. In its most fundamental form, our hearts pump the blood through our veins.  But our hearts are so much more. Our hearts are a powerful, driving force; truly life-giving.


Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love. We feel love in our hearts but not just for that special person. Love has no limits. Love is beautiful. Love is strong. Love is passion. Love is special. Love is blind.


The bonds created through love are the strongest. A parent and child, two people in love, family, best friends, pets, a memory to cling to, a favorite place, doing what you love are a few forms love takes. 


Heart is the core of Ballet Kalamazoo. The over-arching value of dancing from the heart is a wisdom that resonates and guides us every day. We talk about it every day in class, and it is wildly evident when watching even the youngest dancers putting their hearts into everything they do. 


Dancing from the heart is part of a dancer’s posture. Our hearts lift us up. Dancer’s hearts are filled with passion, devotion, determination.  Hearts are relentless in pushing us to pursue our dreams.


I teach my students about dancing from the heart because it translates into living from the heart. To have heart is to give love, compassion, kindness, and to lift up others. All things we need in this world.


I am excited to share Valentine’s Day with my dancers this year. We have a Dance with Your Heart inspired week, and I can’t wait to show them how special and loved they are! 



This is my daughter Sylvia’s 2nd Valentine’s Day, and my love for her is the greatest I have felt. I thought it would be fun to have a mother/daughter Valentine’s Day tea party together! 


I love Kalamazoo, and as a small, local business owner, I wanted to include some amazing treats from our extraordinary community: 


Tudor House Tea has this amazing Blueberry Pomegranate Tea that is child-friendly and caffeine free. It is so good!  For adults, the Dark Rose Tea comes in these adorable little heart shapes! 



Confections with Convictions has the most incredible truffles and chocolate bark. They are so beautifully made and the heart of this business supports their mission; they hire youth that have a criminal record and give them the tools to work and learn life skills in a business. Not only are they creating amazing artisanal chocolates but also creating new opportunities for our youth. 



The Victorian Bakery is amazing!  It was so hard to decide over the freshly made bakery items. Everything looked delectable and lovingly made. What a hidden gem! We picked out some lovely pink macarons and, of course, heart-shaped cookies. Perfect for our tea party! 


Tot-to-Teen is a local, family-owned business for 75 years and still handwrite their receipts. It is Sylvia’s favorite store to go to! I’ve had my eye on this pretty tea set at Tot- to-Teen for Sylvia. If you have children or need a gift for a little one Tot-to-Teen is a must! They have quality, unique things that you cannot get at the big box stores. 


These local businesses truly put their hearts into everything they do. You can see everything is thoughtfully created with love and it couldn’t be more perfect for celebrating Valentine’s Day.



I am thrilled to have my first guest contributor to the Ballerina Blog this month!

Aimee Garrison is the mother of one our little ballerinas and is fantastic at coming up with creative crafts and recipes geared towards kids.

Photo by Tara Fletcher Photography 


This month, she is sharing with us two of her amazing heart-shaped recipes! These are the easy things you can do throughout the year to have fun and to make your loved ones feel special.  I am so excited for you to try these recipes and to feature more of her great ideas soon! 

Red Velvet Heart Cookies


1 cup butter

1 1/4 granulated sugar

2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

2 eggs

1 Tbsp red food coloring

1 tsp. Vanilla

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour


Powdered sugar


1. In a large mixing bowl beat butter on medium to high 30 seconds. Add sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt.

2. Beat until all combined. Beat in eggs, food coloring, and vanilla. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer, stir in any remaining. Divide dough in half. Cover; chill for an hour.

3. Preheat oven to 375 f. On a floured surface roll out the dough to 1/4 in thickness. Cut with heart cookie cutters and place an inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake 6-7 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are light brown. Transfer cookies to cooling racks. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, using stencils if desired.


Heart Shaped Breakfast


1 slice of bread 
1 egg 
Some cooking oil to heat up a pan
Love, care and patience (secret ingredients!!)

  1. Cut a hole in the center of the bread using a heart-shaped cookie cutter 

  2. Spread butter on both sides of the bread including the cut out portion.

  3. Heat up frying pan. 

  4. When your pan is heated to fry an egg, place bread in pan (cut out on the side) and crack egg into heart.

  5. Cook until ready to flip. Flip and cook on other side! 

Alternative Method if you want Sunny Side Up!!

  1. Under medium low heat, sauté the bread (together with the cut out portion) on one side until golden brown.

  2. Turn the bread over, remove the cut out portion and melt some butter into the heart-shaped cut-out. Break the egg into it 

  3. Cook, covered, for about 2-3 minutes with low fire until the egg is cooked to your liking. 

  4. You can open the lid once or twice to check whether the egg is cooked to your liking.

  5. Use low heat to cook the egg so that it will set nicely and the bread will not be burnt before the egg is fully cooked



Before I end, I would like to open up about my own heart. I would like you to know that I follow my heart implicitly. I wear my heart on my sleeve. My heart would go running off a cliff in pursuit of a dream, and my mind would figure out how I would land later on.  The past few years I did not like this about myself. Was I making risky, emotion driven decisions by following my heart?  Did I need to follow my head and ignore my wild-at-heart ideas? 


I tried to change, and my light burnt out. Sadly, I let it. I did not believe in myself and my potential.  Even though I challenged myself professionally, I struggled to be confident in my own vision.  I’m sitting here today, writing this and embarrassed that I had these feelings, but I did, and I am speaking from the heart. 

Photo Credit: Jeff Drongowski 


A series of challenging events this year made me realize that I had somehow lost myself. These beliefs that I had were not true and they were holding me back from truly living like I used to with my heart on my sleeve proudly, passionately and unafraid.


I was lucky enough to find my one true love 10 years ago. My husband kirk is my forever lifeline. We make a great team. 


My passion, my heart are what make me a good ballerina, an artist, and an even better teacher to my dancers. My students motivate me and keep my heart’s fire burning.  


Let’s all dance from the heart.



Have a beautiful Valentine’s Day,




Fun Fact: 


The Blue Whale has the largest heart in the whole world! According to The Guinness Book of World Records, a Blue Whale’s heart can weigh over 1500 lbs and be as big as a car. The Aorta is large enough for a human to crawl through! 


Source: Guinness Book of World Records: http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/largest-heart



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