Shelby Elsbree of Boston is a corps de ballet dancer for Boston Ballet and an avid Instagram user, documenting her travels as a dancer and culinary thrill seeker on her account, @selsbree. Between the barre and her blog, Elsbree, 23, a Florida native, is pursuing her bachelor’s degree at Northeastern University and hopes her social media activity may open doors for her future career.
Q. You’re a very active poster on Instagram.
A.My blog, my dance world, and my perspective that I was gaining through travel for all of the things that I do have created this really neat balanced outlook with the way I can share what I’ve been doing with people who care. It became an inspirational portal for me, following the people that I’m inspired by, my mentors, my close friends, and my family, which is what a lot of people use Instagram for to begin with — to follow along with people’s lives that you either see or don’t see every day. It’s kind of ironic, I’ll run into people when I’m New York, for instance, that maybe I haven’t seen in five years but I know exactly what they’ve been doing because of Instagram.
Q. Most of your photos are rectangular. You’re anti square.
A. That actually was inspired by one of my favorite Instagram people that I follow. He’s a dancer in the New York City Ballet and has a beautiful, unique eye for capturing the life of a dancer. He posts in the nonsquare format and I just found it aesthetically more pleasing.
Q. Do you find that dance influences your style?
A. Definitely, it’s probably the most influence I have in terms of wardrobe. Everyone I work with is so stylish, especially when I was living in Denmark. I was formerly dancing with the Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen for four years and Scandinavian style is probably one of my favorites. It’s simple, streamlined, and understated in an attainable way.
Q. Do you have any favorite finds from your travels?
A. A couple years ago, I traveled to the United Arab Emirates with the Royal Danish Ballet and we went to a market and were invited into a carpet shop. This precious man sat us down and served us his family recipe for home-brewed tea and laid out these beautiful carpets for us. The patterns were so vibrant and unique. There was one that was my favorite beautiful shade of blue and I just couldn’t walk away from it.
Q. Since the name of your blog is Tutus & Tea, do you have a favorite tea?
A. I have so many that I really enjoy, but I always go back to Earl Grey. There’s a really great lavender Earl Grey at Flour and it’s just like heaven.
Q. After dance, what’s the dream career?
A. I’m fully and passionately intrigued by culinary arts and hopefully that’s something I’ll incorporate into my career later, if not now. It’s kind of what I’m trying to do with my blog. My dream career would a combo dancer-slash-culinary artist.
Q. Culinary artist?
A. I’m not sure if that’s anything or if that’s something I made up but essentially it would combine my passion for food styling and photography with eating and traveling. I think my Instagram and blog have been a great outlet for me to start pursuing that.
A look at Elsbree’s Instagram account:
Interview was condensed and edited. Rachel Raczka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @rachelraczka.