Fairytale Friday : La Petite Ballerina and her TuTu Cute Frenchies

Petite Ballerinas: Theresa, Odelia & Alice custom illustration © Shell-Sherree
{Petite Ballerinas: Theresa, Odelia & Alice custom illustration © Shell-Sherree}

Until recently, I had only once illustrated a ballerina, inspired by the ever-glorious window displays in Repetto, Paris.  Then, I met budding ballet dancer Theresa Szafranski @lapetiteballerina and her mum Dixie via their beautiful French bulldogs @odelia_and_alice on Instagram.  My Repetto illustration struck a chord {more Tchaikovsky than Stravinsky} and lo and behold, a custom illustration was soon in the making for this beautiful family.  Come with us behind the scenes.

Theresa with Alice (left) and Odelia (right) Photos © Luis Pons
{Theresa with Alice (left) and Odelia (right) Photos © Luis Pons}

Dixie, thank you so very much for engaging me to create something special to capture the essence of Theresa’s love of ballet and her gorgeous French bulldogs, Odelia and Alice!  One of my previous illustrations - the Repetto window in Paris - helped spark your brief to me.  Have you and Theresa ever been there?

We have been to Repetto in New York City.  It's a charming boutique where Theresa purchased two beautiful leotards for her summer intensive and a lovely fragrance. {Theresa also adores wearing her Gaynor Minden pointe shoes.}  We would love to visit Repetto in Paris one day.

Theresa photo © Luis Pons - illustration © ShellSherree
{Having fun with Odelia & Alice for their illustrated ballet performance with mum Theresa}

You and Theresa are currently living in NYC for Theresa’s ballet studies – and how lucky that her sister lives nearby in Brooklyn!  What does your typical day look like ?

Currently Theresa is attending a summer intensive which is 9am to 5pm, but a typical day would start with Theresa feeding the dogs breakfast and leaving for school.  Then I take Odelia and Alice out for a walk in a nice park near home. We go for a few more walks during school hours before Theresa’s home for a quick change before ballet.  The dogs and I usually accompany her to ballet class and I push the dogs in their stroller.  Then we go home and I feed the dogs their dinner. After Theresa's ballet class is over, we walk and pick her up, and on occasion we’ll go out for dinner and take the dogs with us in their stroller. Once home, Theresa starts her homework then we take the dogs out together for one last walk.

That’s a lot of walking!  I imagine the pups are happy to rest their paws during their stroller rides.  So adorable.  Theresa looks every inch the ballerina.  When did you start to get an inkling that her talents and heart lay in that direction?

We first noticed that Theresa had a passion and a talent for ballet when she was around the age of 8. She never missed a ballet class, and always got to ballet early to stretch. Theresa was also chosen for many special parts in ballets her dance school held.  When she performed, we could see her gracefulness and her love of dancing.

Theresa swan-like by the lake © Luis Pons
{Theresa swan-like by the lake © Luis Pons}

Theresa, you must have an extremely gruelling schedule.  I’m guessing Alice and Odelia help you immensely with unwinding and managing that?

Yes they do! They are always there to cuddle and give me kisses when I come home from school and dance. They love me very much and they are always curious about what I am up to. They are the funniest, entertaining and most lovable dogs in the world.

You seem to spend a bit of time by the ocean, which must help everyone relax now and again from the rigorous routines.  Theresa, how are Odelia and Alice’s sea legs when they are out on the water ?

I love the ocean and we are lucky to live near so many beach locations. The beach is one of my favourite places to go because it’s so relaxing and beautiful. As for Odelia and Alice, they aren't such big fans! Odelia always tries to eat the sand, Alice doesn't like the seagulls, and they both dislike the water.

Enough walking, mum.  Push faster, please --- Keeping sand and seagulls at a safe distance Photos @odelia_and_alice
{ Enough walking, mum.  Push faster, please --- Keeping sand and seagulls at a safe distance Photos @odelia_and_alice}

Heh!  They must keep your hands full while you’re there.  Theresa, let's say you could turn any movie into a ballet. Which one would you love to dance in the most and who would be your leading man?  

One of my favourite movies is Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn. I would dance Audrey’s part and my dream partner would be the principal dancer named Roberto Bolle, who happens to be Italian.

If Odelia and Alice were principal ballerinas, which ballet and character would suit each of them best, Theresa?

The best ballet for them would be Swan Lake. Either of them could play both swans, because they both have a sweet side and a naughty side, but Alice would most likely be cast as the white swan (Odette) and Odelia as the black swan (Odile).  Fun fact: Odelia is actually named after the black swan!

They would make beautiful swans, as would you!  I look forward to seeing where your love of ballet leads you, and the ongoing adventures of your beautiful pups.  Thanks so much, Dixie and Theresa.   

And on that note …

Happy Fairytale Friday to you!

Glorious photography © Luis Pons @ponsphoto   Used with permission and my deepest thanks

Theresa © Luis Pons
{Theresa © Luis Pons}


  1. Okay, this is just too wonderful. It's exciting that Theresa knows her mind and passion at a young age, and has a supportive parent to help her pursue it. This is so meaningful to a young artist.

    Wonderful photos here, and Shell! The dangling, cherubic doggies are inspired!


    1. I envy Theresa's sense of purpose, Petrea ~ isn't she awesome, and her mum is a rock star. :) It was such a blessing to be able to show off Luis's photos here ~ they really bring it all to life.

      And heh, I confess I tickled myself no end when the image of the pups suspended on their silk harnesses came into my head. Thank you, I'm glad you love it! Hugs to you and Wilma! x0


Merci, grazie, thank you for joining our conversation lounge. Your smile lights up the room. Even more beautifully than our crystal chandelier. x

© Shell Sherree • Theme by Maira G.