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Everybody started somewhere. In the My Journey posts we ask an accomplished athlete / star / thought leader how they got where they are now. We hope their stories will inspire and motivate you.

In this twelve My Journey post, we had a chat with Charlotte Russell who is a ballet dancer. We hope you enjoy Charlotte's journey.
Charlotte Russell
Tell us a little about yourself :)

I am 21 years old and currently living in Devon having recently graduated from Bournemouth university in Communication and Media. I love all things fashion, fitness and everything in between.

My main accomplishments in sport has been getting into the English Youth Ballet Company when I was 17 and running the Barcelona marathon in March last year.

In order to be able to complete the marathon I had to fundraise £1,500 for Worldwide Cancer Research which was an absolutely amazing feeling. Having raised that amount of money and then completing the marathon itself was one of my most proudest moments.

How did you get introduced to ballet?

I started dancing from a very young age, I took my first ballet lesson when I was four years old and fell in love with dancing instantly. I remember going to watch Royal Ballets Sleeping Beauty performance and I was so in awe of the ballerinas, it really is such a beautiful sport that requires so much strength and agility.

Dancing has always been my biggest passion, however I chose not to pursue a career in dance due to the fact that I tore my achilles tendon when I was 16 and it was never quite right after that.

Deciding not to pursue my dream to be a dancer was one of the toughest decisions I have had to face, but nonetheless I found new passions and directed my love for fitness and dance into running the marathon and leading a healthy and active lifestyle.

When did ballet get “serious”?

Exercise has always been a form of release for me. If I don't exercise I feel wound up and angry at myself as I know how much better I feel after a good workout. It really is unbelievable what a good workout can do for you if you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

Can you share your biggest challenges?

So as mentioned before the decision to not go on to become a professional dancer was the biggest challenge I have had to overcome in regard to dancing. I overcame this obstacle by continuing to take lessons and focusing on finding new sports to get involved with such as running.

I find that the key to overcoming a challenging or trying time is distraction, if you preoccupy yourself with something different then you stop focussing on what it is that is getting you down or stressed,

How do you handle pressure?

In the modelling industry there is definitely a pressure to look good and to be in shape so when I am feeling the pressure in any aspect of life I turn to exercise which keeps me in shape as well as eradicates any other pressures in life.

Can you share your thoughts on self consciousness?

I always felt most comfortable when I danced. I'll admit that when I was standing in the wings waiting to come onto the stage my heart would be beating so fast that I didn't know whether I could even do the steps but once I was into the routine I was always in my element.

In dance especially, you tend to compare yourself to others, I would beat myself up so much if someone was better than me because I always wanted to be the best but in the end you just have to accept that there is always going to be someone better than you but that doesn't detract anything away from your own talent. You just have to be the best that you can possibly be.

What was your most embarrassing moment (in regards to ballet of course ;)

Falling flat on my face whilst attempting a triple pirouette!

We were taking it in turns one by one to practice our triple pirouettes and I decided to launch myself into it so much that I actually propelled both legs to give way and me to face plant the front of everyone. It was hilarious.

How did your passion influence your life in other ways ?

It definitely gave me the drive to want to succeed and to strive to be better in all aspects of life. It gave me a greater sense of confidence in myself. Not being able to be a dancer influenced my decision to go to university to become a broadcast journalist which looking back at I think was definitely the right path for me.

What does your daily routine look like?

So now I don't tend to dance as much so I now spend my time in the gym doing a mixture of HIIT training on the running machine where I sprint as fast as I can for 1 minute and then walk for 1 minute for half an hour and lifting weights.

Now my training routine focuses on getting lean and as fit as possible.

And what about flexibility training? Where does that fit in?

Stretching is so important, especially after a workout. I like to do a mixture of different stretches.

I find that yoga is amazing, I love to do the downward dog after a heavy leg session as you can really feel all of your muscles stretching out.

I stretch out my hip flexers by lunging forward onto one leg whilst getting as close to the ground as possible, almost as if you are about to go into the splits and then hold it and really breathe into it.

Sitting on the floor with your legs together in front of you and leaning your body over your legs and reaching for your toes is amazing for your flexibility and stretching out tight muscles.

What keep you motivated?

I love seeing all of the Kayla Itsines posts of peoples amazing transformations, its more real to see everyday women and men transforming there bodies over an extensive period of time and reaping the benefits.

Sometimes following the models with the figures to die for actually just make you feel worse about yourself rather than inspire you to be active so following people with similar body shapes to you who lead healthy lifestyles are a lot more inspiring and relatable.

What are your future plans/goals/dreams?

My ultimate goal is to become a TV Presenter but in terms of fitness I just want to be as fit as I ever have been, maybe run another marathon? I might have to think about running another marathon a little bit more as the last one really was a challenge!

Any tips for passionate ballet dancer starting out?

If its something you really want to do then stick at it, don't let other people tell you can't do it - if you want to do it then you do it.

Dont compare yourself to others, just work on being the best version of yourself and if you put in the time and the effort you will reap the rewards.

Anything you’d like to promote?

If you want to follow my fitness journey and any tips/advice I feel I can offer then please check out my blog and my instagram account @char_russ

Charlotte Russell

I am 21 years old and currently living in Devon.

Instagram: @char_russ


Dancer, Marathon and Yoga

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2 Comment(s)

  • Author Image
    Tom Posted February 02 2017

    Thanks for sharing Charlotte!

  • Author Image
    Grace Posted February 02 2017

    I love this - inspirational x


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