Young ballet dancer way ahead of her class


By Carolyn Dryer - Editor



The Glendale Star  August 24, 2006



   Rochelle Marks is turning heads as she makes her delicate turns in ballet.  Rochelle is a 10-year-old Glendale resident who takes lessons five days a week clear across the Valley at Ballet Etudes in Mesa.  Her mother, Kathy, makes sure she arrives by 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and stays with her until the lessons are over at 6:30.

   The first studio Rochelle attended was Royal Dance Works in Phoenix, where she took combo classes: ballet, tap, and tumbling.  She began concentrating on ballet at the age of 4 and began taking lessons at the School of Ballet Arizona, and then switched to Ballet Etudes in Mesa, where she is now.

   Two years ago, at 8 years old, Rochelle performed a solo with Phoenix Symphony.

   “It was a contest, and they had to create their own choreography to the music the symphony gave them,” Kathy said.  “Rochelle was one of many in the contest, but the only one chosen to perform.”

   In all, Rochelle performed at four concerts.

   Rochelle   explained   her fascination with ballet was the movement, and that when she’s dancing, she just feels happy doing it.

   Rochelle     is     home-schooled, so she can pretty much set her own schedule.  That is fine with her mom, who said she and Rochelle’s father tried for almost 20 years to have children before their young



   Rochelle practices ballet in Mesa five days a week for two and one half hours each day, 4 to 6:30 p.m.

   “We have dinner sometimes at 9 o’clock,” Rochelle said.

   She is in a class with 12 to 14-year-olds four days a week, and Friday,  she is in

a class with students up to 17 years old.

   Kathy said, “Her instructors (three to five of them) say that they are very amazed at her talent, an innate talent, and that they see the passion she has for ballet within her.”

   In the future, Rochelle wants to be a prima ballerina and a ballet teacher and teach other children.  To do that, she has to prove herself on stage as a ballerina.

   “People are more inclined to come to your studio if you have back-ground in ballet,” Kathy said.  “The thing her instructors are also amazed at is her ability to choreograph.”

   So, how does Rochelle choreograph?

   “I listen to the music and how it makes me feel.  And I

move from there,” she said.

     In    her    DVD,    which she produced at the age of


9, Rochelle shows how different music can make  people move differently.  And, she shows how dancing can be mad, or sad, or happy, or show you are in love.  One of the pieces of music made her feel like dancing like a hummingbird.

   Although Rochelle is shy when she is being interviewed, when the music is on and she’s on stage, she’s like a different person.

   “She loves dancing, she loves cameras,” Kathy said.  “Yet, she can be very shy when she’s not on stage.  And I think a lot of dancers are that way, and that’s why they love to dance because they’re showing their inner emotions when they’re dancing.”

   Rochelle said she does not have a favorite ballet music, she likes them all.

   Her next performance will be in “Nutcracker,” which begins the weekend of Thanksgiving, and goes for four weekends.

   The performances will be at Chandler Center for the Arts, at the Mesa Arts Center, and in Prescott. She dances as part of the Ballet Etudes pre-professional performing company.


Learn more about this

young ballet dancer at


Reach the reporter at,

or (623) 847-4604.


ballet dancer came along.

   “In fact, when we had her, two television channels had us on the news,” Kathy said.  “She was a big medical breakthrough for a lot of women.  The doctors learned a lot through us having her.  I had four miscarriages before her and in between, I had a hard time getting pregnant.

   What benefited all the other women is that they found out that women who have blood that is very thick have a hard time getting pregnant and if they get pregnant, have a hard time sustaining pregnancy.”

   Kathy was given a blood thinner, and that allowed her      to       sustain      her


pregnancy.  So, now all women who have

the same blood problem are placed on blood thinner, and most are able to have a healthy pregnancy.

   “With me, I had many more problems than that,” Kathy said.  “And they realized I was allergic to a preservative that was in some of the medicine I was taking.  When they realized that and corrected it, we were able to have Rochelle.”

   With home schooling, Rochelle is a year ahead in her studies.  Kathy said that is  because   parents   have

the    opportunity    to    find

what best suits their child.