By Tiana Wilson
Gallatin High school
Jaley Adkins has visions of sugar plums dancing in her head.
The 16-year-old junior from Belfry High School dreams of one day dancing for the Nutcracker as the Sugar Plum fairy, one of the lead ballerinas.
“I’ve been picturing myself since I’ve been little,” Adkins said. “Every girl dancing growing up… seeing the pink tutu and pointe shoes.”
At the age of 6, Adkins got a glimpse of Sugar Plum and it made a lasting impression.
“I was playing a mouse in the Nutcracker and I saw her for the first time. She was wearing a tiara,” said Adkins, who lives in Canada, Kentucky. ”She had the shoes that she could go up on and the tiara.”
It was everything a young Adkins could hope to be and she knew at that moment, she
wanted to one day be in those pointe shoes.
The honor student, who has a perfect 4.0 grade point average, began ballet at 3 years old.
She moved up from ballet shoes to pointe, which really meant a lot to her.
“I went from practicing one day a week and then three to five hours the week before a show, to practicing twice a week and being there two or more hours every day for two to three weeks before a show,” Adkins said. “Ballet takes a lot of discipline and sacrifice.”
Blisters are common and so are bruises.
Sometimes, following a performance, she said, she will take off her pointe shoes and her foot would be covered in blood – something she didn’t even realize while performing.
But for the teenager, she said the pain, which sometimes can register at a 10, is “worth it.”
“You build your tolerance. I can keep them (pointe shoes) on for like three hours. It takes a while to build it up.”
Adkins, who plans to one day visit Uganda with her church when she turns 18, now also teaches ballet to the younger kids.
“I got to teach 3- to 4-year-olds and I was that old when I was taught by the older girls and I looked up to them,” she said, adding that she enjoys mentoring them as they get older and more experienced.
Adkins said she tries to encourage the kids not to be afraid to try something they think they can’t do.
“When they think they are not good at something, they won’t try at all,” she said. “When it’s something new, I try to encourage them to try it and give it a chance, to always to do that.”
One of Adkins’ favorite quotes is, “If you stumble, make it part of your dance.”
She loves this quote because her ballet teacher Peggy Davis always said that if she messed up in front of the audience, they wouldn’t know it and to just keep going like it never happened.
“I feel like it applies outside of dance because if you messed up just keep on going.”