If you are on any social media platform and love dance, chances are you’ve seen a video of the Cuban born Adiarys Almeida whipping through gasp inspiring turning sequences. (if you haven’t… click here)
Here we are, many years later and “go for it” she did. Adi’s fearlessness and attack onstage transferred directly into her offstage life and the decisions she made. Jumping into an uncertain career path with gusto, managing herself, and creating a new line of dancewear, Adi has always trusted her gut and relied on her own talent.
If you’ve ever met Adi in person you can’t help but get sucked into her vivacious personality. She has a love of life and art that is contagious to anyone around her and I’m so happy to share a little of that below.
Adi graciously sat down with me to talk about her current life and what lies ahead:
You danced in several different traditional ballet companies before deciding to become an independent International guest artist. Can you talk about this decision and how it came about.
Yes, I danced for the National Ballet of Cuba, Cincinnati Ballet, Corella Ballet and Boston Ballet which was my last company. In 2013 I decided to leave Boston Ballet but I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go next and I didn’t want to rush into a decision. Fortunately, I had pretty much a whole year booked with work. So I decided to freelance for one season and take my time to look around at other companies. I did try to audition for a couple of big companies that I was interested in but no luck on that… I wasn’t what they were looking for… On that note I continued to freelance and here I’m four years later. But I can’t complain. It has been an amazing journey!
What were you most concerned about when you left the umbrella of a ballet company?
Well there is so much that concerned me at first… it’s a scary decision to leave security for the unknown. When you dance for a company everything is taken care of. The season repertoire and calendar it’s all set up, you have lots of benefits, you have an income every week, the work conditions are there, proper floors, costumes, pointe shoes, physical therapy, health insurance, etc…
As a freelancer everything is on you. I guess staying healthy was my biggest concern. That’s my number one priority as a freelancer, take care of my body and be smart in when to say yes or no to a guesting… Self discipline is super important as well, to be able to keep yourself motivated and stay in the best shape you can be. Right now as a freelancer I am based in Pompano Beach Florida, training everyday at The Art of Classical Ballet with my amazing teacher, coach and mentor Magaly Suarez, who gives me time and attention and keeps me in the best shape. I’m very lucky!!!
Do you have an agent or do you handle all of your own contracts, scheduling and negotiations?
I don’t have an agent. I do all the work myself. It’s crazy! But somehow I do it and I actually enjoy it. Maybe in the future I can be an agent for other ballet dancers. Jajjaja….
I’m constantly reaching out to people for work opportunities. I also do research online for Ballet Galas, Festivals, and Companies who are in need of Guest Artists. I also do my social media work. These days it’s very important that you invest some time in promoting yourself. I think especially if you are a freelancer. But most importantly it is about delivering and giving your best in every performance so the organizers and the audience are happy and invite you back.
You also became an entrepreneur and launched Adi Dancewear. Can you discuss how this project came to fruition and how you manage a business as well as dance all over the world?
Well the whole idea of Adidancewear was born after I suffered a bad injury. In 2010 after only a month dancing for Boston Ballet I discovered that I have 6 Dreaded Black Lines Stress Fractures on my left tibia. This injury could be career ending for many dancers. So I had to stop dancing for one year and keep checking on my leg every month. After 6 months of almost no healing I got very depressed and needed to keep my mind occupied with something else, so I got a sewing machine.
I always had a passion for design and I was already decorating my own stage costumes and making my headpieces, but I had no idea about sewing. So I starting making skirts and leotards for myself and everyone liked them at the company, especially the skirts. I started selling them to earn extra money. One day my best friend, Giselle Alfonso, who is a former dancer said to me: “Why don’t we invest together on a new project?” I though it was crazy at first then I said why not…. Let’s give it a try!
We started in 2013 from zero. With a few drawings and that was it. We have gone through a lot but we have learned so much as well. We finally launched the brand and our online store in May of 2016. Since then we had grown a lot and I think people really like our products.
It has been hard because my business partner and I both do Adidancewear part time since I’m constantly traveling and performing and she also has two different jobs and two little kids. But we are making improvements everyday. The strength of Adi Dancewear is the combination of the love for ballet, design and experience in business efficiency.
What do you think you want to do once you stop performing?
Well… Im not sure yet… I like so many things at once. I definitely will do something related to my dance career and find ways I can help others dancers. Hopefully I will still have Adidancewear so I can help dancers dress well and feel better about themselves. I also have a passion for teaching and I think it will be amazing to pass my knowledge on to the next generation. Maybe I will also be a manager and help dancers find work and performance opportunities and guide them a little bit more on what I’m doing today.
What aspects of your dance training have helped you in your business endeavors?
This profession teaches you discipline, dedication, perseverance, that feeling of “Never give up” and “I can do it”. That’s how I’m taking Adidancewear. Nothing is impossible in life especially if you put your heart in to it.
Do you have any advice for dancers looking to pursue an unconventional path in the dance world or an outside business?
Follow your heart and intuitions. Do what you feel is right. Do not be afraid. Everything happens for a reason and even the bad experiences can teach us something good. Make the best out of every opportunity that comes your way.
Anything else you’d like to discuss?
As dancers we can get ourselves caught up in dramatic and negative situations because we as artists are very passionate and sometimes take things too personally. Try to take it with a different approach. It only happens once… it goes by very fast and it doesn’t come back once it’s gone. It’s such short career. Make the best out of it!
Follow Adi on Instagram
@adisugar and @adidancewear
Check out Adi Dancewear at http://www.adidancewear.com
Photography by Michael Cairns and Lupe Jelena