T & T reader: Mary Hu

by Henrik on January 18, 2012

So, Tights and Tiaras is two years old! Hurrah! Thinking of all the stuff thats happened here on the site since I started it, I realized an important fact in the “history” of Tights and Tiaras: Everything is driven by you, dear readers. You give me ideas, you put me on the spot, make me explain and tell stories, you inspire me and are inspired by my posts. In short, you, dearest readers, are Tights and Tiaras. To celebrate the birthday, I will feature a Tights and Tiaras reader every month of 2012. Because you bunch are a diverse, great lot of people, and you keep Tights and Tiaras evolving and developing way longer than I would have ever managed alone!

So, from the bottom of my dance-loving heart: Thank you all sincerely!! Now meet Mary Hu, the first featured T&T reader of 2012!


Mary Hu, our January reader, with her brother

Mary Hu is our first featured reader, and a devoted one she is. Mary told me she printed out our Tights and Tiaras posters and guerilla-posted them in public places for the grand public to see. That is cool enough to make the cut for the January TnT reader! Thank you, Mary and all other T&T readers, for your support!


Mary, tell me a little about yourself – who are you? What do you do?

I’m an undergraduate business student at a private university in southern USA. I also really like economics, but unfortunately am not a huge fan of math, so that probably wouldn’t work out. J Outside of school, I play violin in my university’s symphony and love to read and travel! In fact, I just got back from an amazing winter cruise with my family—we went to Key West and Jamaica.

Besides all things dance and ballet, I’m also slightly obsessed with fashion, makeup, classical music, and Hayao Miyazaki movies. My absolute favorite ballet of all time is Swan Lake, even though I’ve never been a part of anything that has performed it, unfortunately. I really hope I can go to New York one day to see the ABT perform it—I think Gillian Murphy is beautiful and absolutely one of the best dancers ever.


What is your connection to dance? Are you a dancer, a part of an audience, just interested in dance or…?

When I was 7 or so, I told my parents that I wanted to take ballet classes. Nothing special, really, just a typical little girl’s phase of tutus and twirling around. I ended up sticking with it for seven or so, and finally stopped taking classes right before high school.

Fast forward to freshman year of college, where I became re-obsessed with ballet: I signed up for ballet class again (thank goodness it’s part of our P.E. requirements), watched Black Swan, went to a show by the Atlanta Ballet, and decided that ballet is definitely here to stay in my life. J Right now I am all three of the above—dancer, eager observer, and 100% lover of dance.

How did you find Tights and Tiaras? What was it about the blog that interested you?

It’s kind of funny, actually—I was shopping for tights for class last year, so I Google searched “ballet tights”, or something like that—and I suppose your blog popped up, and I clicked on it out of curiosity. What really struck me was the simplicity and honesty of the blog; there was nothing superficial or pretentious about it unlike other dance blogs you can find on the Internet. And because English is not your first language, the writing is more sincere and to the point, and a very pleasant read to boot! I also love reading the comments after each article from all of these other people who are related by dance through your website, and that’s how I truly realized how powerful a simple little blog can be, under the direction of the right person.


Do you have a favorite TnT post?

I don’t have a favorite post, but my favorite column is “Life as a dancer”, just because it is really fascinating to me to see what the life of a real dancer is like. You can read interviews, of course, of famous ballerinas and their day-to-day activities, but only rarely do you see the whole picture the way Henrik’s blog gives it.

Oh, and also I lied—I think my favorite post is “5 reasons to date a dancer”. Which also applies to other artistic professions.


How long have you been reading Tights and Tiaras?

About a year and a half: it was pretty new when I first came across it, I think!
Thank you Mary, for your devotion and support! Tights and Tiaras wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for you and all the other, great bunch of readers!

Check back for the other featured readers each month, and of course, for new, interesting and funny content in the new year. I can tell you, there is more than one scheme going on ’round here now :)
Until next time,


{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Katherine Barber January 18, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Nice to learn about Mary! Wait…. BALLET is part of the Phys Ed requirements at your college??? How COOL is that!!!


Henrik January 19, 2012 at 11:11 am

That is pretty cool!


Seven of Nine Davids January 19, 2012 at 3:23 am

Awesome. Featuring TnT readers is very interesting. I enjoyed reading this.

Two years and still going strong is awesome. I hate it when other ballet blogs start out strong but then the writer loses interests in just a few months.


Eeva January 24, 2012 at 12:20 am

Congrats on the 2 fabulous years! :) Nice interview of Mary, waiting for the next ones :)


Bill @ carpet cleaning orange county January 28, 2012 at 7:04 am

Great blog Henrik,
I have a question for you since you are a professional ballet dancer. My daughter has been dancing since she was 3 and now is 9. She has been training with a Russian school here in California. South land ballet academy. She is the best dancer for her age at every school she has been at. My Mother who taught ballet in New York has really brought her up in this. My daughter does love it for sure! I am concerned however with them wanting her to put her in point shoes already. Is this to early? I also am concerned as I learn more, read and hear from dancers and parents about the injuries and chronic problems dancers can develop. Especially with the turnout work you guys do. Just seems like the body was not meant to turn link that? I understand the Russian training is the worst for this? I mean forcing the turnout beyond where it should be.
Any help and insight would greatly be appreciated.
Thanks, concerned Dad


Henrik January 30, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Hi Bill, and thank you for your comment!
First of all, congratulations with what sounds like a talented little girl!!!
For the pointe shoes, I don’t think 9 is too early to begin subtle training en pointe, but make sure it is qualified people that is training her – you don’t want her to go all jumpy and crazy on the pointes quite yet – controlled strengthening exercises is key for still some years!!
For what injuries is concerned.. Well, no, ballet is not easy on the body. Anyone dancing for a career will, at some point, experience pain and injuries to their ‘instrument’ – the body. Correct training and supervision while in school is the best way to control and avoid this as much as possible, and may be the difference between ‘wear’-pains and more serious, chronic injuries. The turn out position and work a dancer do is not for everyone – if your daughter is very unflexible, this may become a problem for her given she does ballet at a professional level later in her life. I know I sound a bit harsh, but I don’t want to sugar-coat it either.
It’s true that the russian school (or rather the mentality connected to it) is a tough one, and one that can be harsh on the body – but it is also the school that trains the best dancers in the world. I wouldn’t be worried as much for the school/syllabus she is following as I’d rather worry about who is teaching her. The person teaching is more important than the school – make sure she has good, concerned and well educated teachers, and she’ll do fine in any syllabus.
I find it very nice that you are concerned for your daughter, she is lucky to have such an involved Dad that looks out for her! If you have any more questions or if you want me to be more exact etc, please don’t hesitate with writing me, Henrik@Tightsandtiaras.com. I’m happy to answer anything I can, or forward your questions to people competent to answer them where I am not.
Glad you enjoy Tights and Tiaras!!


Alys Swan-Jackson January 31, 2012 at 7:32 pm


Congratulations on a successful two years. As the mother of an experienced make dancer, I find yopur blogs very enlightening. I have a question. Have you considered writing a piece on the audition process? I don’t understand it.What are ADs looking for (it seems so random) Are annual open auditions designed soley for entry level positions? How does a more experienced dancer move up the ladder? How has the recession affected recruitment? What advice would you give your fellow dancers …..
I’d appreciate your “take” on it.


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