Our next BYB Spotlight is our Boutique Manager, Jennifer Morgan. The Boutique at BYB provides BYB students with their ballet attire (leotards, tights, shoes, bun nets, etc.). All students of Bluegrass Youth Ballet are required to wear a specific uniform for class.
However, dance attire is not the only purpose the BYB Boutique serves. It is also a place where people at BYB gather to share stories, laugh, cry, and…dream! Friendships are formed, and bonds grow strong in the BYB Boutique.
Jennifer Morgan is at the center of the Boutique, responsible for BYB student uniforms, and she uses her artistic creativity for BYB performance props, headpieces, and lobby merchandise items at the theatre. She has been with BYB for nearly 10 years, and has two daughters, Isabelle, 14 and Abbie, 12. She enjoys being part of the BYB family, and exchanging ideas and connecting with others in her role as Boutique Manager!
Thanks for all of your work in the Boutique, Jennifer!
Interview with Jennifer Morgan, BYB Boutique Manager
How did you get involved with running the boutique?
My girls, Isabelle and Abbie, are always here, so I’m always here! I’d rather be doing something than sitting around. I became friends with the previous boutique person and was helping her and took over when she stopped doing it. I also work with the costumes and headpieces, which is a lot of fun and is a creative outlet for me.
Do you have a background in dance?
No, not at all. When my oldest, Isabelle, was 3-years-old, she said she wanted to dance ballet. I didn’t even know kids that little danced! I did a lot of research. And, then of course, when Abbie got old enough, I enrolled her, too. This has all been a new experience for me.
What sets BYB apart from other ballet schools that you researched?
I could tell that the instructors were really enthusiastic and that they enjoyed working with the students. I could tell they were invested in it, and they were genuinely interested in helping the students develop their potential.
And, the emphasis at BYB is ballet, which is not the case at other dance schools. Plus, the focus here is on the youth. In other ballet companies, the youth are put to the side and the professional dancers are emphasized. Here, the students are the company. They dance all the roles.
And, the teachers are really well rounded. They have a lot of experience and knowledge. Whether it’s day-to-day training or summer intensive auditions or getting ready for performances, they are able to impart a lot of know-how to help the students in every way.
What has surprised you most about the BYB experience?
In comparison to other activities my children have been involved in, I was surprised by how much BYB makes us feel like we’re part of a family. The staff and others parents here are interested in all parts of my children’s life. I’ve never felt connected to the other people involved when my son plays sports, for instance. So, that’s been surprising for me to have that connection with others.
Also, not knowing anything about ballet, it’s been interesting to see the influence that it’s had in the rest of my daughters’ lives. Ballet engages the body and mind at the same time. It’s been a positive experience for both of them.
What does BYB’s motto “…No Dream Is Too BIG!” mean to you?
Well, everyone at BYB has bought into this! I hear people saying, “That’s not a crazy dream.” That’s true. That really is the way everyone feels. No matter what our kids dream, whether it’s dance related or not, it’s supported. And, they still stay connected even if the kid changes the dream. It’s a really neat environment in that way. It’s extremely supportive of the person, not just the dancer. And, as a mom, I really appreciate that.
And, I think it also helps the students understand that aiming high is what it’s about. It’s a great motivator for the kids. And, it’s been a great motivator for me! Those summer intensive auditions are intimidating for my girls, but they’re also intimidating for me with so many students trying out and so few slots!
I’m extremely proud of my girls, because even though they might not have gotten what they wanted on the first try, they continue to work hard and work toward goals that they’ve set for themselves. It’s been great for them to be in an environment where they can feel supported and encouraged no matter what. That’s why we’re here and “…No Dream Is Too BIG!” really sums it up. It’s everything.