Ballet JourneyS


Shaping the Future of Ballet One Story at a Time

Welcome to Ballet Journeys! provides learning and inspiration through conversation, interviews, and physical workshops from some of the world’s leading ballet voices. It is a place for BALLET dancers (recommended 13 years old and up) to find inspiration for their dreams, refresh ideas, renew their body, and synthesize future possibilities.

At Ballet-Journeys we know that everyone has a story worth sharing! If you were called to ballet and feel most connected to life when dancing - then your journey is real. You and ballet have been intertwined in some fashion.

Ballet-Journeys is an online source of information and a place for you to pause upon your path and reflect upon your journey while listening to the wise words of those who came before you, or to the hopeful words of the trailblazers etching out a new ballet voice!

Join us as we journey together through ballet stories, secret lessons, shared advice, and most of all the realization that all of our individual stories merge together to create the future of ballet.

Catrina Choate-Heretoiu

Ballet-Journeys & SomaStudies Founder

Relive our Inaugural Event

Being A Ballerina  

The Power and Perfection of a Dancing Life

Gavin illuminates her timeless story and the process of living a dancer’s life. Instead of focusing on the dark underbelly of the ballet world, she stays true to the path of being where the details are deliberate, the attention is clear, and the feeling is united in connection with passion for one's art. 

If you haven't read the book, or wish to purchase it as a Gift for a friend or loved one, you can use the code XM21 for a discount + FREE Shipping directly from the University Press of Florida. Valid through December 16th 2021!

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Founder SomaStudies & Ballet Journeys

Ballet Journeys Mission Statement

With Ballet’s embrace of uniformity and conformity it is often easy to forget your unique path. Ballet Journeys is here to remind us that there are multiple ways to enjoy ballet, have a career in ballet, and a healthy relationship with ballet. No two paths are alike and it is important to remember that first and foremost - ballet is a personal practice and a process to be nurtured and cherished. Ballet is a journey and if you’re on it - it is your unique path to shape. 

It is my mission with Ballet Journeys to share as many different ballet stories as possible to reveal journeys of success, exclusion, recovery, endurance, and resilience. By sharing these stories it is my hope that they will offer learning and inspiration to current people in ballet to etch out their own path and embrace their unique journey. 

Catrina Choate-Heretoiu

the BOOK

Ballet Journeys (the book) is a collection of personal stories from ballet professionals around the world.

Each story is revealed in the form of a letter addressed to Ballet which expresses hidden treasures within each person’s intimate relationship with ballet.

No two paths are alike yet every path shares the love and respect for the artform.

By sharing these stories - lessons can be learned, guidance can be given, clarity can be remembered, and love can be experienced.


For some people, ballet is a holistic experience that flows easily with their personal progression, for others it is not so.

Many people have been excluded, degraded, and traumatized by their ballet environment and this is why Ballet Journeys presents stories weighted in experience, endurance, and resilience.  

One person’s story is not everyone’s story, however, we can relate to and learn from each other’s stories which can therefore help to inform our choices and actions.


What is your relationship with ballet?

Not with the ballet world or business, but rather you and ballet - how are you together?

Why do you work hard to perfect technique? What does ballet give you and what do you give to ballet?

So often, people seem to misalign and replace their values of passion, love, and respect for externalized ideas of limited portrayals of ballet.

Although ballet is a presentational artform, I don’t think that your ballet relationship should be externalized. It should never be something for which you pause your self worth. It’s never something you need approval to belong to. Ballet is yours, always. It is a process and it is your practice. Ballet is a way of being with life.  

How can we help?

On a journey, a traveler needs guides, mentors, and friends.

Guest Teaching

Ballet-Journeys welcomes Teachers from the Ballet world to share their experience and knowledge, passing the torch from one generation to another.


Ballet-Journeys will maintain an active and private community for all Ballet dancers and teachers. We will hold a safe space for everyone, and we welcome you with open arms.


Oftentimes we need guidance to better understand what our next step needs to be. Whether a career move, choosing the right School or Style, or even finding a tribe in a new place. Start here.

We’re here to support making your ballet journey a fulfilling and happy part of your life.

Our Growing List of Guests

Meet our Guests, Make New Friends,

Share Your Dreams

Ballet Journeys provides learning and inspiration through conversation, interviews, and physical workshops from some of the world’s leading ballet voices. It is a place to refresh ideas, renew your body, and synthesize future possibilities.  

Catrina Choate-Heretoiu


Gavin Larsen

Writer, teacher, and former professional ballet dancer.

Author, "Being A Ballerina"

Dena Abergel

PhotoCredit: Blaine Truitt Covert

About Ms. Gavin Larsen

Gavin Larsen is a writer, teacher, and former professional ballet dancer.

Born and raised in New York City, Gavin received her professional dance training at the School of American Ballet, the Pacific Northwest Ballet School and the New York School of Ballet.


Over the course of her 18-year professional career, she was a member of Pacific Northwest Ballet, Alberta Ballet, the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, and Oregon Ballet Theatre, dancing prominent roles in ballets by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Anthony Tudor, James Kudelka, Christopher Wheeldon and Paul Taylor, as well as the major classical works and numerous original contemporary pieces.

From the Book

We all deserve to feel our spirits expanding past the boundaries of our skin, to be powerful without needing to hold power over anyone else.

Dancing takes the most beautiful, extraordinary, and universal instrument - the human body - to its fullest, highest, most complete capacity.

Physical body, intellectual mind, emotional spirit, interpretive artistry all unite in even the simplest classroom exercise.

“Everyone should dance.

Everyone should let their soul sing.”

Gavin's Special Guest

Dena Abergel

NYCB Children's Repertory Director

SAB Ballet Faculty

Dena Abergel

About Ms. Dena Abergel

Dena Abergel began taking ballet classes at the age of six with Dorit Koppel at Progressive Dance Studio in Englewood, New Jersey. When she was twelve, she enrolled as a full-time student at the School of American Ballet, where she continued her training until she joined New York City Ballet at the age of eighteen.

Ms. Abergel pursued college studies while a member of New York City Ballet and graduated summa cum laude in 2001 with a B.A. in English from Fordham University.


During her eighteen years as a member of New York City Ballet, Ms. Abergel performed in numerous works by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. She originated roles in Robbins’s West Side Story Suite; in Peter Martins’s Chichester Psalms, Harmonielehre, Symphonic Dances, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and Romeo+Juliet; and in Christopher Wheeldon’s Carnival of the Animals, Variations Serieuses, and An American in Paris.

Ms. Abergel performed featured and soloist roles in a number of works by George Balanchine, including The Nutcracker®, Firebird, Coppélia, Swan Lake, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet.


Upon retiring from performing in 2009, Ms. Abergel joined SAB’s faculty and became NYCB’s Assistant Children’s Repertory Directory. She was named Children’s Repertory Director at New York City Ballet in the fall of 2012.


Virtual Nutcracker Workshops

Belvoir Ballet Summer 2022

Gavin's Special Guest

Cherilyn J. Lee

Editor-In-Chief & Founder

The Ballet Herald

Cherilyn   Lee

About Cherilyn J. Lee

A former Dancer with Hartford Ballet and Carolina Ballet, Cherilyn's lifelong passion for ballet has opened the door to the next chapter of her journey. Her strong foundation includes training at the School of American Ballet, being a featured dancer with Hartford Ballet and Carolina Ballet, and being co-director/owner of City Ballet Raleigh. She was granted the Affiliate Teacher Award after successfully completing the ABT National Training Curriculum®.

After her performing career, Cherilyn graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Spanish Language & Literature and a minor in Business Administration.


A professional career in the industry along with extensive global travel provide her with a unique set of experiences to draw upon as an audience member. Cherilyn is excited to be sharing her insight about ballet around the world.

Gavin's Special Guest

Steven Houser

Grand Rapids Ballet

Steven Houser

PhotoCredit: Isaac Aoki

About Steven Houser

Steven began his ballet training at the age of six in his hometown of Portland, Oregon. He has studied at Metro Dancers, Portland Community Ballet, Arts and Communication Magnet Academy, and the School of Oregon Ballet Theatre. He also spent summers studying on scholarship at San Francisco Ballet School, Pacific Northwest Ballet School, and the School of Oregon Ballet Theatre.


Steven joined Oregon Ballet Theatre as an apprentice in 2004, was made a company member in 2005, and was promoted to soloist in 2007. He joined the Grand Rapids Ballet in 2011, and became an assistant ballet master with the company in 2017, staging and rehearsing works by Penny Saunders, Dani Rowe, Brian Enos, Olivier Wevers, and Christopher Stowell.

Steven has performed nationally and internationally in Japan, Korea, Juneau and Anchorage, Alaska, and at the Marion Oliver McCaw Hall in Seattle, and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.

Gavin's Special Guests

The Quiner Sisters

"6 Sisters Who Love To Dance"

Cherilyn   Lee

About The Quiner Sisters

We are 6 sisters that love to dance and display our art form! We enjoy choreographing our own solos and performing ones by top choreographers.


We have been featured in Dance Spirit magazine and Inside Dance magazine. Michelle and Rachel have danced as Clara for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. We have won over 10 national dance titles! We have won scholarships at various dance workshops including: NYCDA, Nuvo, Jump, 24 Seven, Radix, Adrenaline, West Coast Dance Explosion, Revive, and ASH. We have been featured on the news and have been to YAGP Finals. Our solos have placed first overall at many dance competitions.

Gavin's Special Guests

Young Professionals

Meet young professionals and students as they virtually chat during a Book Talk with Ms. Gavin Larsen.

Dena Abergel


Philip Duclos

School of American Ballet

Dominika Afanasenkov

School of American Ballet

Priyana Acharya - "Company Artist"

Oregon Ballet Theater

Jonah Bell

Ballet Conservatory of Asheville

Iris Schriener

Ballet Conservatory of Asheville

Gavin's Special Guest

Priyana Acharya

Company Artist

Oregon Ballet Theater

Steven Houser

About Priyana Acharya

Born in Illinois, Priyana Acharya began her training at her hometown studio and continued training at the Joffrey Academy in 2016. For the 2018-2019 season, Acharya joined the Joffrey Ballet as a Trainee and performed in world premiere works by Edgar Zendejas, Tommie-Waheed Evans, as well as a work by Lar Lubovitch.

She has attended summer programs with The Royal Ballet School, Bolshoi Ballet Academy, and Joffrey Academy of Dance, among others. After joining Kansas City Ballet’s Second Company from 2019-2021, she performed numerous roles in Devon Carney’s The Nutcracker and Swan Lake.

Current Career

Most recently, Acharya was invited to be a part of the 2021 Onsite Contemporary Ballet Performance Ensemble at Jacob’s Pillow. She performed in works by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Amy Seiwert.

She joined Oregon Ballet Theatre as a Company Artist for the 2021-22 season and has most recently performed in The Four Temperaments by George Balanchine, as well as Jennifer Archibald’s Sculpted Clouds.

Gavin's Special Guest

Jasmine Parente


The HARID Conservatory

Dena Abergel

About Jasmine Parente

I grew up and received most of my dance training in the mountains of Asheville NC, and just recently transitioned to HARID. I enjoy performing and emphasizing artistry when I dance and working with the music to create authentic expression has been my newest ballet goal. 

Gavin's Special Guest

Josh Spell

Mental Health Therapist & Social Worker

Former PNB Company Dancer

Cherilyn   Lee

About Josh Spell

My wish is to provide a warm and welcoming space that allows clients to be vulnerable and take emotional risks in the service of self-discovery and healing. At times, we may lose our ability to trust our intuition. We may feel like imposters in our relationships, jobs or within ourselves.


Flexible Mind Counseling provides a bridge back to understanding your authentic needs.

We will develop an understanding of the structures at play in our daily life that construct and uphold self-doubt and lay the framework to trust our intuition.

Executive Producer

Catrina Choate-Heretoiu

Ballet-Journeys Founder

Ballet Educator, Feldenkrais® Practitioner

Dena Abergel

About Ms. Choate-Heretoiu

Catrina is a somatic practitioner and dance educator who works with recovery and learning through movement. She is the co-founder of Soma Studies which includes online/live somatic classes and is the creator of Ballet Journeys.

While young, she trained at the prestigious School of American Ballet and then continued to dance professionally with Miami City Ballet, Carolina Ballet, and Miami Contemporary Dance Company. Catrina thrived in her performance career but she also understood movement from a healing perspective and chose to nurture an academic and somatic path. 


Catrina has a B.A. Degree in English Literature from Florida International University, an MFA Degree in Dance from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, and is certified in The Feldenkrais® Method of Somatic Education. She has taught all levels of ballet and Feldenkrais® at many conservatories throughout the U.S. and Europe such as the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Dance Department, Northern California Dance Conservatory, and Sacramento Ballet.  

On Movement

Throughout Catrina’s life, movement has been the trusted language of communication and she understands that a somatic conversation through movement can reveal unexpected experiences that can promote learning, growth, relief, and ultimately connection.


“Movement is everything and

everything is movement.” 












Our Virtual Journeys

Ballet Journeys Presents:

A Weekend with Gavin LARSEN

Shaping the Future of Ballet

One Story at a Time.

A Weekend with Gavin Larsen: ON-DEMAND REPLAYS

We also have opened a Ballet-Journeys TELEGRAM group for all of us to stay in touch! Join in.

Our Stories.

Ballet is Us. It is the people.

"We make the choices. We choose what to normalize and how to react. We choose to see or to turn away. We choose to speak up or stay silent. We do have a choice to push boundaries or help those who are pushing boundaries. We have a choice to join together, to connect, and to acknowledge each person’s journey."

Catrina Choate-Heretoiu

© 2021 Ballet-Journeys & Catrina Choate-Heretoiu. All Rights Reserved

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