Remie Goins, Atlanta YAGP
Remie Goins is an 11-year-old pre-professional from Atlanta, who trains at MorningStar Dance Academy of Atlanta. The studio has won YAGP Outstanding School, and director Xiao Chen has been named a YAGP Outstanding Teacher. This will be Remie’s second YAGP experience; her duet placed third for ensembles in Atlanta last year, taking her to the New York finals. She’s attended a master intensive with former ABT soloist Yan Chen and Indiana Ballet Conservatory’s variations intensive, and she was also accepted last year by SAB’s Young Dancers Workshop, Bolshoi Ballet CT and Kirov Academy.
The power of commitment
Remie started dancing as a toddler but began her serious ballet training at MorningStar two years ago.
Although the director expressed skepticism about her ability to excel at high training levels, she was accepted for a limited schedule of classes and given a set of exercises to work on. After a few months she had made so much improvement that she was told she might qualify for YAGP if she practiced every day. She didn’t have daily classes at the time, but receiving this advice inspired her to head for the studio every day right after school. She practiced on her own, listened to corrections other dancers received and sometimes followed along when other variations were taught. “When you tell Remie she can’t do something, she’s all in,” Randi explains. Remie’s hard work and rapid improvement led to recognition from Mr. Chen and participation in YAGP after only six months of pointework. As her training proceeds, Remie continues to work hard, under the watchful eye of her teacher. “He knows the limits [of healthy training], including not overdoing stretching,” Randi says.
Dancing in other genres
Remie also enjoys modern dance and Chinese dance, which her studio offers. This year, she is excited to perform her first modern piece at YAGP. “I love the openness and freedom of expression in modern,” she says. She explains that Chinese dance brings in elements of ballet, modern and character and that learning it has been a cultural experience as well as artistic and physical. Chinese fan dances presented an unusual challenge: becoming ambidextrous! “I’m left-handed, but you have to use your right hand for the fan,” making very controlled and quick movements, Remie explains.
Lessons of a young dancer
At just age 11, Remie has had the experience of working persistently and consistently toward her goals, and learning to protect her body from overtraining or shortcuts that could hurt her in the long run. “The most important thing to remember is to be patient with yourself,” she says. “Being patient helps me stay focused and not get frustrated.” She adds that technique doesn’t improve magically, but rather through hard work and repetition. Remie has also learned never to compare herself to others, but rather to draw inspiration from the commitment and artistry of her fellow dancers.
Remie’s Russian Pointes
“We were looking for a shoe, any shoe, that didn’t hurt,” Randi says. Remie has high arches, a narrow heel and wide metatarsal area, short toes and a compressible foot, and she has found it challenging to find a good fit. She started out in a different brand and experienced problems in both fitting and support. She found that different pairs in the same size didn’t fit the same, the size and shape of the box of a good-fitting pair would change rapidly with use, the box would over-soften behind the toes and the shanks would break quickly – and she was going through up to a pair each week. Discovering Russian Pointe has “had a huge impact on my dancing,” she says. She wears U-cut Rubin, with either Flexible Soft or Flexible Medium shanks. “They’re really comfortable on my feet – I hardly feel like I’m wearing pointe shoes – and they don’t go dead!” She also enjoys Rubin’s sleek heel and the consistency of Russian Pointe fitting. She wears a small size that isn’t typically stocked. “Once when her Russian Pointes were unavailable, she refused to dance in any other shoe!” Randi says. Now, her retailer makes a special effort always to have a pair in stock with her, in her current size and a half-size up.
When she’s not dancing…
“I love art and crafts,” Remie says. She knits and recently began learning how to sew, and she enjoys painting and sculpting, which she pursues at home in her father’s in-house art and design studio. “Working with her hands helps her relax and re-focus,” Randi says. She is also a penguin enthusiast, with a growing collection of penguin-related items!