Ballet dancer, 11, tapes

2 DVDs, has big dreams



By Maura J. Halpern


   At 11 years old, Rochelle Marks already knows what she wants to do when she grows up.

   The Glendale resident hopes to dance professionally with the American Ballet Theatre in New York City and eventually teach ballet.

  If her unofficial resume is any indication of her future success, she's well on her way.

   At 8, Rochelle performed a self-choreographed ballet solo to the music of Carmen with the Phoenix Symphony.

   She has released two instructional ballet videos for kids, which have recently been picked up by national distributors such as Borders and Target online.

   And in June, her second DVD, Creating Ballet Dreams with Rochelle, won a 2007 Silver Telly award.

   Kathy and Mike Marks noticed their daughter's dance talent soon after she began to walk.

   When she was 2, Rochelle tried to copy the moves to the Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Cinderella.

   Four years ago, she joined Ballet Etudes, a pre-professional dance company in Mesa.



Rochelle Marks, 11, has been a ballet

dancer since she learned to walk.



   She practices in an advanced group with dancers as old as 18.

   "When she joined a studio, the instructor couldn't believe how she was able to feel the music within her," Kathy Marks said of her daughter.  "They called her a child prodigy."

   It was during her performance with the Phoenix Symphony that Mike came up with the idea for Rochelle to lead a ballet instruction video for kids.

   In 2005, the young ballerina taped her first DVD, Creating Ballet Fun with Rochelle.

   The 35-minute video features Rochelle teaching the princess, Spanish, emotions, doll, hummingbird and seamstress dances.



Rochelle Marks has released two

instructional ballet DVDs.


   Her second video consists of nine dance titles, including mermaid, tea party, ballroom dancing, guess the animal and others.

   "I want kids to have a different perspective on ballet because usually adults teach instructional videos," said Rochelle, who is home-schooled by her parents.  "You're able to be really graceful."

   During the summer, she practices at Ballet Etudes four hours a day, four days a week.

   For the rest of the year, she dances for 2-1/2 hours every day during the week.

   "I just love how you can express your feelings and emotions without talking," Rochelle said.  "Ballet can seem difficult, but if you put imagination and effort into it, you can have a lot of fun."