In the latest installment of our Dazzler Profile series, The Costume Gallery team caught up with Penelope Bellerjeau of Philadelphia, PA
“My goals in dance will never change. I want to tell stories with movement. I want to become a better dancer than I was the day prior.” -- Penelope Bellerjeau
It happened more than a decade ago, when she was only 2 ½ years old, but Penelope Bellerjeau doesn’t have to think hard to remember her first dance recital.
“It was something I will never forget,” she says. “On my very last dance, I did not want to leave the stage. Once all of my fellow dancers left, I stayed on stage and went into a split, and I was blowing kisses to the audience. They eventually just closed the curtain on me because I didn’t want to leave the stage…”
We’re sorry we missed that performance, aren’t you?
Penelope’s ability to connect with people, whether it’s an audience, younger dancers or her social media community, has shaped her goals for the future. Not only does the 14-year-old Philadelphian from The Rock School for Dance Education want to continue dancing as she grows up, but she eventually wants to integrate dance into a career that helps others.
We asked Penelope to tell us more about her plans, and herself in general, in this Q&A session. Here’s what we learned:
What do you love the most about dance?
My favorite part about dancing has been telling stories in my numbers and conveying it to the audience.
Who are your biggest mentors in dance, and how have they impacted your life?
A few of my biggest mentors have been Reggie Oliver, pushing me to become more confident and teaching me to love hip hop, and Anthony Burrell, who exposed me to different genres of dance.
What was your favorite dance costume of all time?
My favorite costume I ever wore was my first solo costume to the song “Warrior” by Demi Lovato. It was custom made. It’s stunning. It is a dark pinkish-purple color, and it has the words “Strong,” “Warrior,” and “Courage” hand-written on it. It has a little brown skirt on the end, and the words are also brown. Lastly, there are a few gems on it. I love it!
How have you integrated dance into your life during the COVID-19 pandemic?
During the pandemic, my parents converted our basement into a dance room with mirrors and Marley dance flooring. I have been stretching, working out, and taking ballet, contemporary, and hip hop classes every day. I also did 3 weeks of ballet intensive with The Rock School vía Zoom. It has been really different doing Zoom dance classes, but I’m grateful I can still dance in some way!
How has your outlook on life changed in the last year?
My outlook on life has changed drastically. For me, this was an eye-opener to not take anything for granted -- school, dance, etc. I have learned truly how lucky I am.
What are your career and life goals?
I want to become either a child psychologist, or a child psychiatrist. I would also love to incorporate that with dance. My intentions with that are a secret for now, but I promise it will be AMAZING!
What do you think it means to be an influencer?
To be an influencer to me, means to be a positive role model for others and also to promote a brand with positivity, kindness, love and compassion.
What advice would you give younger dancers who look up to you?
A message I would like to send would be to never quit because of someone else and to never doubt what you are capable of. Your biggest competition is yourself. My story has unfolded and continues to unfold. I used to be that girl that doubted herself very much. I was judged because of what I love to do outside of dance. Dance with your heart. Sometimes, passion beats talent. Be kind, be supportive, help one another, and you will see your success and story unfold beautifully.
Life is truly amazing, we grow through what we go through! ♥️
We hope you’re feeling as inspired as we are by this amazing young lady! Penelope is a shining star and embodies everything we look for in a Dazzler. We’re so proud to have her on our team!
Thank you for reading, and remember to keep checking our blog for more fun Dazzler profiles throughout the year. You can also follow us on Instagram and Facebook @costumegallerycostumes to stay in step with everything Costume Gallery has to offer!