We had the good fortune of connecting with Jane Shnatman and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jane, why did you pursue a creative career?
It was a no brainer from the start that I had to pursue something I fell in love with. From a young age I knew that I wanted to dance and model until my bones let out… and when I say ‘let out,’ I mean it. I was born to parents that had their 3rd and last kid fairly late – hi, that’s me! Every day, I saw how much having a dancer affected them. They weren’t always able to keep up with my active dream. They believed in me so much and went to every performance! But, when I asked if they could grand jete across the street, they would always decline “because of their age.” This made me realize that if I love what I do, I need to run after it until life doesn’t let me pursue it any longer.

With a decision to pursue a creative career, there was so much expected backlash. Yet, to become successful in what I dreamed to do forever, I had to push past that. I always knew that going into a creative field, I would get looked down upon by everyone outside of it. I think more than anything, that thought alone drove me to pursue my passion even more. “Well, that’s great sweetie and you can do that in your free time… but what do you want to be when you grow up?” was something I heard every day. Luckily, growing up in the big city of dreams, Brooklyn, New York expected every little girl to say “dancer.” Whether they believed in that becoming a successful, long term career though, is a different story….

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As much as I am a creative, I’m also so passionate about my other career path.

I’ve been interested in providing therapy since my middle school days and I never looked back. This year, I will be finishing my 4-year Psychology Degree! I am graduating 3 years early and I couldn’t be happier. I was worried about stepping into college and luckily only had to do one in-person semester until Covid hit. Once everything went on lockdown, classes were online and I had a lot more time to dance and model! This allowed me to work towards all of my passions equally. I didn’t feel pressured and there wasn’t a time constraint on what I wanted to involve myself with. I did college when I had the time, I danced when class was available, I booked myself for modeling gigs on my free days, and I worked as a Studio Manager at my local studio. I never felt the need to have “the college experience.” I just wanted my degree and out we go!

The main challenge I’ll be facing once I complete my degree is how to balance my passions. I would love to dance, model, and be a psychologist all at once. I hope everything I set out to do will be done as best as it possibility can be. I would never want a career path that brings in good income to overpower a creative passion. Finding a good balance is key.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m fairly new to Texas so I wouldn’t know too much myself! From what I do know in my area, I would take my best friend to a dance class first! Him and I met when I walked into his mom’s dance class and from there on out, we’ve been inseparable! 7 years later and although he’s way back in Brooklyn, New York, I would take him back to how we first met – DANCE! I would take him out of his comfort zone and make him take an advanced hip hop class and then I’d let him embarrass me in a ballet class. His tilts are far better than mine! When we weren’t dancing in New York, we were at Wendy’s! So, to bring back the memories, I’d take him to the nearest Wendy’s. Now as boring as that all sounds, it was and still would be a blast for us. I’d definitely take him to my favorite Italian spot – Maggiano’s! Then I would have to show him Whataburger because what’s a Texas trip without going to Whata? In-n-Out would be another trip and the mall in my area would also be a neat spot to visit!

Where we’re from, we love a good adventure under Toys-R-Us. That one’s a long story… but I’m totally serious! We used to walk to the Toys-R-Us by the ocean and walk down to where the building’s structure had an opening into the water!

There were rocks in the opening which let us climb all the way through and out the other end of Toys-R-Us. The water’s tide occasionally rose and closed that opening forcing us to come up with a way to get out immediately being in the middle of the passage way. 15 minutes one way, 15 minutes the other, and 5 minutes until the water closed up the space entirely. They later closed that entry way because it was dangerous (we would disagree). Because that was our daily spot, I would take him hiking! There are some fun trails to climb rocks on and although we wouldn’t have to be escaping from the ocean, I’m sure he would still love the thrill!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My journey is so beautiful and it has some of the most incredible people that have made it possible. My parents being the first – Olga & Robert Shnatman. I cannot be more thankful for them and the support they have provided. The years, nearly decades of dance classes they paid for, the performances they willingly left work for, and so much more. Alongside my parents, the women that has pushed me ever since I moved out to North Texas, my mentor and inspiration – Geena Driven. With such a beautiful heart, she instilled so much into me through her classes and one-on-one talks. Even outside of dance, she has guided me through hardships that nearly sunk me. I am beyond grateful for her soul and how incredible she is. I definitely wouldn’t have stayed in Texas if it wasn’t for her.

Next, I need to thank Brooklyn. Brooklyn in itself and Brooklyn as in it’s people. There is so much that I wouldn’t be if it wasn’t for my city. My dance team in BK, my friends, my family, and the east coast baby! For those that understand, yurrrrr!!! And for those that don’t, you don’t have to 😉

I think everyone who’s entered and exited my life deserves a little credit and recognition. I would not be the dancer, model, and human I am today if it wasn’t for all the successful relationships and those that have failed. I am lucky to have the people in my life that push me and help me succeed. Equally, I am thankful for those that wish me the worst and pray on my failure. There is nobody that has not contributed to my being today.

Website: https://janeariella.wixsite.com/home

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jane.ariella/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/mwlite/in/janeshnatman

Image Credits
Taylor Foss Drew Radley Ed Crawl Olga Shnatman @photo.effect.embe or Michael

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