The following is an interview with Jessica Kreyer, owner of Coastline Ballet Center, conducted by Discover Marblehead. To learn more about the ballet school at 165 Pleasant Street #12 in Marblehead, go to coastlineballet.com.
Tell us about Coastline Ballet Center. Coastline Ballet Center is a ballet school that serves students ages 3 to adults. My husband, Pavel Gurevich, and I own the studio and are both former professional ballet dancers. I danced with the Milwaukee Ballet, Columbia City Ballet, Ballet Memphis and Jose Matoe’s Ballet Theatre. Pavel danced with the Milwaukee Ballet, Suzanne Farrell Ballet and Boston Ballet as a principal dancer for over 10 years.
After retiring from the stage, we both found ourselves at the front of the room teaching the next generation of young dancers and loving it. Soon, I rose to the rank of principal of the North Shore Studio of the Boston Ballet School which used to operate out of the YMCA building. During the COVID pandemic, Boston Ballet made the difficult decision to close the North Shore location. Pavel and I felt strongly that this community and all of its beautiful dancers deserved a local studio where they could continue their studies at a high level, in a professional environment with experienced and knowledgeable instructors who are some of the best in our industry, not just here in Massachusetts.
We had fallen in love with the North Shore and wanted to maintain the connections we had built with the people here and remain a part of the fabric of this place. So, we decided to take the leap, literally and figuratively, and open our own studio right here in Marblehead — in the middle of a pandemic! We wanted the students’ experience to remain as uninterrupted as possible. They had already endured a lot with COVID. We had about six weeks to find a suitable space and renovate it for dance, which was almost an impossible feat. But with lots of encouragement and support we made it happen and have never looked back. We have built a beautiful home for our students and ballet, and we couldn’t be more grateful!
What is the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received? The best piece of business advice I’ve ever received was the encouragement to finally open my own business and be my own leader. Even before the pandemic, people were always saying to us, “You should open your own studio,” but we never quite felt it was the right time. As a dancer you’re told what to do your entire career — you’re a vessel carrying out and delivering someone else’s artistic vision. It can be difficult to develop your own voice and the courage to forge your own path. We spend our professional lives in the corps de ballet literally staying in line. So to step away and act on your dreams is hard. Pavel and I couldn’t have done it without the support of the community, students, family and friends cheering us on.
What is your favorite spot in Marblehead? I would have to say my favorite spot in Marblehead is the beach! Since I spend so much of my life indoors, every chance I get you will find me and my family parked on the sand. My favorite thing to do is to go early in the morning and then head back in time for lunch.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you? I don’t know if there is anything about me that would surprise people. I am colorful and very animated, probably from spending the first half of my life always onstage and the second half in the front of a classroom around curiously-wonderful kids. Pavel is more reserved, he is the mysterious one, but I would never share his secrets! I think what doesn’t always come to mind with something as beautiful as ballet is all the work and toil that goes into it that isn’t so glamorous. There is a lot of time backstage, offstage, outside of the studios doing all the work that no one sees. And if you do that work correctly no one should see it. It’s all meant to look graceful, elegant and effortless. It’s part of the allure and mystique of ballet. Now that I am on the other side, producing shows, sewing costumes, doing administrative tasks — all of that “invisible” work is far more exhausting than dancing ever was!
The Business Spotlight is a weekly feature published in partnership with Discover Marblehead. Discover Marblehead is dedicated to the promotion of our majestic seaside town of Marblehead. Their mission is to highlight local businesses, tourism, community events and attractions through social media, email marketing and community outreach. To learn more, visit discovermhd.com.