Aliane Baquerot - Catching a Star

Riding the subway alone by age 11. Check.

Moving away from home at age 14. Check.

Making the Rhythmic Gymnastics Olympic Team 
by age 17. Check.

Aliane Baquerot has done it all. Having moved away from home at the age of 14, she had to grow up at a much faster pace than the average teen. Riding the subway by herself at age 11 and going from dance practice to dance practice and leaving her home at age 14 to train for the 1996 Summer Olympics, she learned a lot.

Things have changed a bit for this Olympian. Over the past 14 years, she has been part of numerous TV shows like Celebrity Circus, danced in successful big-screen hits, namely The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and graced the stage of several big-time Broadway shows, such as Saturday Night Fever and Movin’ Out.

Since settling in Columbus, Baquerot has led a busy life, helping out with the rhythmic gymnastics team at the newly opened Integrity Gymnastics and Cheerleading with her fellow Olympian husband, Blaine Wilson. Always dancing, never having a “job” job growing up, Baquerot made a few bucks by dancing in bar mitzvahs around New York. In 1998, she was dubbed one of New York’s busiest dancers in the city.

Baquerot feels like her biggest success in life so far has been accomplished within the last year: having her son Jackson. Like many first-time moms, she read every what-to-expect book on the market just wanting to make sure she got it right. Climbing over everything in the interview room, baby Jackson looks to follow in his parents’ footsteps. The Wilson household is always chaotic, just the way she likes it.

A tattoo located on the inside of her wrist reads “Profitez De La Vie” or “Take Advantage of Life.” We think her motto translates clearly into her life. Through all of her accomplishments and happiness, it seems as though that’s exactly what she did. Get to know more about this do-it-all dancer, mom and wife in our exclusive Q&A.
Q & A » » » » » »

You’ve been all around the world and back, born and raised in New York City… Why Ohio?
Mostly Ohio because of my husband, Blaine Wilson, but 
I’m growing to love it!

How did Blaine propose? You were married during the Tour of Gymnastics Superstars on a detour in Reno…Was it a spur of the moment kind of thing?
I don’t think he actually ever proposed (laughing), I think it was in the taxi on the way to Reno. We had met in ’96 during the Olympics, then we re-met in 2000. When we saw each other again in 2008, there was an instant reconnection. We were like four weeks into the tour and we were out one night in Sacramento and we saw a sign that said “Reno – 2 hours away” so we said lets go to Reno and get married.

What was your favorite movie to work in?
It was a TV special, a Tony Bennett TV special, he was turning 80, so it was all these duets with different people – Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Christina Aguilara, John Legend, all these amazing people. Working with Tony Bennet was amazing. He’s a legend; he was so classy, never lip sank anything.

Favorite Broadway show you were in?
Definitely Movin Out, with Twila Tharp and Billy Joel – both who are legends. I mean Twila Tharp is a legend in the dance world and Billy Joel … I grew up listening to Billy Joel so that was incredible.

Now that you are married, what is your perfect date night?
Perfect date night for me and Blaine is going to dinner and a movie; it sounds really simple, but with kids it’s the best.

Your son just turned one. How was the first year of motherhood? Harder or easier than expected? Did you read any of those “What to Expect When You’re Expecting books,” or did it just come naturally?
I read every single what-to-expect book. I mean every book you could read I read including everything on the Internet. I’m probably going to get shot for saying this but it’s easier than I expected it to be because Jackson is such an easy baby. He’s a good baby. I got very lucky. He’s a dream baby. I should probably stop while I’m ahead, not push my luck.

How was it getting back into shape after your pregnancy? What is your routine?
For me, I fell out of shape. I had a C-section so I couldn’t do anything for six weeks after and when I went to work out, I couldn’t even do a sit up. I started working out at home on my own and now I work out with a trainer twice a week. Jimmy Dong at Metro Fitness and he’s awesome he’s got me back in shape, he’s amazing. I love it. And other than getting back in shape, I just feel better.

How is your relationship with Blaine’s daughter, Wakaya? Is she having so much fun with her new little brother?
She loves Jackson. She’s the best big sister. She comes home from school and she’s like “I miss him so much today; he’s so cute!” And my relationship with her is great. I definitely consider her my daughter as well; to me, there is not a difference.

Are you taking time off from dancing to raise your son? Do you plan on going back to Broadway any time soon?
I don’t plan to go back to Broadway right now, but I’m still dancing. I’m teaching dance a lot. I’m also doing 
jobs here and there. I’m going to Brazil and I’m doing things like that. But Broadway – I’m not ready to leave Him and I don’t want to say “been there – done that” but it’s a completely different lifestyle.

How has your life changed since your Broadway days?
It’s a complete 180 since Broadway. I mean you do the show at night. It starts at 8 o’clock. You get done at 10:30 or 11, you eat dinner, you don’t wind down until midnight or one, then you go out and you sleep until noon. It’s a completely different world. Everything is focused around that one show. It can become very consuming; it’s all you have time for.

Any upcoming movies you’re involved with that you can fill us in on?
The last one I did was Christmas Carol that came out last Christmas, but no that was the last one I shot.

What is your favorite childhood tradition that you hope to pass on to your kids?
Well, I think one of the things that was very important to me growing up was sitting down to eat dinner as a family every night. I just think it’s so important, even with all the dancing and gymnastics, that we always sat down to eat dinner every night as a family.

What is the usual mood of the Baquerot-Wilson household? Calm? Chaotic?
Chaotic, (laughing). I’m calm; everyone else is chaotic. There is definitely a lot going on. Nobody sits still in that house.

Who is your hero?
I mean it’s cheesy to say my mom, but my mom. She’s always been really strong; she raised two daughters basically as a single mom and she did it with grace and selflessness. It was great; she’s amazing.

Where is your favorite place that you have traveled?
I loved Australia, I’ve been there twice. I went to Sydney and just had a blast. And then I went down to Tasmania and the Great Barrier Reef and went diving. The first time I went was for the Olympics and just hung out and watched. And the second time was when my sister lived there.

How crazy is Celebrity Circus behind the scenes? Who was the funniest person to work with?
Celebrity Circus was amazing. I wish I had everything on film because it was just a blast. I loved working with Rachel Hunter and Wee Man. Both of them just blew my expectations like Rachel Hunter she’s a super model and I just had expectations and she shocks me, I love her. The stuff we were asking them to do in 
a short period of time, it was 
just great.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Trashy magazines and TV shows like US Weekly and InTouch. House Wives of Orange County and New Jersey.

How was growing up in New York? Do you miss 
the big city or prefer 
the more small-town aspect of Ohio?
I loved growing up in NY but I didn’t know any different. I was taking the subway alone at 11 years old and going to and from school and back from practice and everything. I didn’t know any different. I mean we were trick-or-treating in big apartments buildings was awesome we got so much candy. It was great. You definitely grow up quickly in the city but you are also exposed to a lot. I didn’t really see race, I didn’t see other things that I would have seen growing up some place up so I liked that aspect of it and you know you get some street smarts with it so that’s always good. But now living here I also love having quaint, I love having people know you, I like having the local place you hang out, the grocer that 
knows you.

Has there ever been a move that you haven’t been able to perfect?
I cannot tap dance to save my life.

You and Blaine just bought Integrity Gymnastics and Cheerleading…are you planning on coaching?
Yes, I do. I coach, and help out with the rhythmic gymnastic team there. They already have a team and a coach there that does an excellent job so I go in a help out. And I’m also helping the artistic gymnasts’ dance. It’s cool because I never thought that I would coach, I never considered it. But it’s really come full circle because I feel like if I knew then what I knew now I would have been so much better off.

What was the last
thing you spent 500 dollars on?
Blaine’s Anniversary present last year. I got him, we had gone to an Indiana-Pacers game on tour and we had jerseys it was the first time my name was Wilson so I got two jerseys with Wilson on them and I framed them and a picture with tickets from the game. He’s going to kill me that it was 500 bucks!

What was your first job?
I’ve been very fortunate and I’ve never had a job job. But my first
job making money was dancing at bar mitzvahs.

If there were a book written about your life, what would it be called?
My Tattoo… Profitezdelavie in French it means, “take advantage of life.”

Favorite food from New York that just doesn’t taste the same in Ohio? Pizza. New York Style pizza. 
I love Donatos, but it’s just 
not New York.

What’s your main focus when teaching kids?
For me it differs, in gymnastics it’s trying to get them to not worry. Anybody can do technique and get the steps but it’s about feeling something and getting the audience to feel something, too.

What was the greatest part about being coached by Wendy Hilliard?
Wendy is like my mom. We are still very close. She has been my main mentor my whole life.

Growing up, how much did you realistically train, what does it take to get to where you are today?
When I first started, we were training eight hours a day six days a week.

If you could describe your dancing style by
the movement of an animal, what animal would you be and why?
Either a giraffe or a gazelle. They are both kind of lean and long and graceful. I went on 
a safari in Africa and I was memorized 
by the giraffes 
so hopefully I can memorize
people by my dancing.

How did you deal with pressure of competing?
I thrive on competition. Blaine and I get so competitive with each other on everything down from Wii games, to who’s right about something.

Will your kids be Buckeyes like their dad?

What was it like living with seven other girls during your Olympic training? Was is fun or was it hell?
Both. We were like sisters, we would fight a lot but ultimately we got along. And we actually worked with a sports psychologist individually and as a team so we could both work together and live together. It’s helped me throughout life.

How was it to be so young and be separated from home so early?
That was hard, I moved away at fourteen to train, I think it was probably harder on my mom than it was for me.

How did you feel when Blaine found you your Olympic brick? He said (in a past interview) that you were pretty emotional.
Oh my god, it was the best surprise. I went there and searched and searched for it with no luck, and he found it 
and sent a picture of it for me. It was very sweet.