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The Balancing Act: A conversation with Jeni Dzenis

Jeni Dzenis

What is your name and birthplace? What is your profession?

My name is Jeni Baliz and I am from Canton, OH. I am a project manager at an architecture firm.

How long have you been a dancer?

I began dancing jazz at the age of 6. I began cheerleading in the 8th grade and continued to cheer through college. I took a break for 10 years and then moved back to Atlanta and became a Hawks dancer.

How long did you dance with the Hawks? Why did you choose to leave?

I danced with the Hawks for 2 years. I stopped dancing because eventually my age caught up with me and dancing for the Hawks was like having another full time job. It began to interfere with my work and I wasn't able to give it 100%. My husband and I also decided we wanted to start a family.

Tell us a little about your family. 

Both of my parents are from the Philippines. I even lived there for 3 years. My dad was in the military so we moved around a lot. We lived in Washington St., the Philippines, and Florida. I have a husband and two boys. One is 6 and one is 3. Their names are Tristan and Zoran.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I've been teaching Hot Hula for 3 years now and I teach two times a week. Hot Hula is a low impact, cardio form of Polynesian dance.  I also like doing a lot of activities outdoors with my family. We like to hike by Lake Lanier and travel.

How do you balance being a working mom and keeping fit?

It takes a lot of compromise in my marriage honestly. Everything is split 50/50 at home. My husband helps out a lot. For example, my husband goes to work early so he can leave early to pick up the kids from school. He often helps with the laundry and cooking. Marriage really is a partnership that requires communication and give and take.

How did you find out about Shazzy?

Well Vera is my friend. She was actually the first friend I made while on the Hawks. She is the sweetest person and we instantly became best friends. She asked me to audition.

What role do you think faith plays in fitness?

I believe that being a person of faith is about finding inner peace. Dancing can bring you to a place where you can be open and let your thoughts go. When you find you need peace, dance can be a get away. Dancing and finding peace go hand in hand. Working with Shazzy was a great experience. I got to work with a great group of people and even though we hadn't met before, everyone was very positive. 

What was your most fun memory while working on the Shazzy Fitness project?

The first day of filming was actually my 40th birthday. That was a very memorable moment for me!

What is your biggest takeaway from working on this project?

Before this experience I wouldn't have looked forward to listening to Christian Hip-hop. I was skeptical about the music at first but after I was exposed to it, I found it to be catchy and uplifting. I was exposed to a genre I didn't know was out there.

What do you like most about it?

It’s different and fun. If you’re not a dancer, you can modify it to make it easier and if you are a dancer, you can modify it to make it more challenging. The variety of styles is cool. For a fitness video, these dancers are very professional. In other videos, the people are athletic but they aren't dancers. I love the style.



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