Jewelry designer, ballet instructor
Heidi Romero turned her long-time interest in jewelry design into a business in 2011, when she opened Dancing Buffalo, a custom line of handcrafted necklaces, bracelets and earrings, many featuring wire crochet and wire wrapping precious stones and glass beads.
And though she spends much of her days designing the jewelry, marketing the business, and participating in vendor events, Dancing Buffalo (mkt.com/dancingbuffalo) is only half her life.
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Romero, 36, started dancing when she was only 4 years old. Over the years, her young dream grew into intensive studies, dancing, and teaching nationwide and worldwide. Romero, a North Carolina School of Arts graduate, also studied in summer intensives at Pacific Northwest Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and the Hungarian Ballet Academy in Budapest, Hungary.
She has danced with companies including Charleston Ballet Theatre, Greensboro Ballet, Northern Ballet Theatre, Burklyn Ballet Theatre, Paradise Ballet Theatre and at Scotland’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
In 2008, Romero set her sights on Tampa Bay when a friend, Lindsay Clark, told her she was opening Tampa Bay Ballet school and offered Romero a faculty and dance position. Four years later the school opened a non-profit, professional ballet company, the Tampa Ballet Theatre.
Tampa Ballet Theatre became the resident ballet company of Ruth Eckerd Hall in 2015, and as a “Ballet Mistress,” Romero teaches, directs and rehearses dancers.
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Between an intensive ballet career and a thriving jewelry business, Romero doesn’t have big blocks of free time. But she knows how to balance her schedule.
“I’m a pretty organized person,” she says.
Romero plans the schedule for her jewelry business around her teaching and dancing hours.
She sets aside time for creating new designs and ordering supplies, and meticulously stays on top of her jewelry inventory with a sales and supply list. Because her supplies are not sourced from just one place, she also adds time slots she needs to search and order online.
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Many people might feel stressed if they’re constantly juggling various responsibilities and activities, but Romero shares her secret in living a joyful life.
“I’ve chosen two jobs I like to do,” says Romero, who lives in St. Petersburg with her husband Juan and their dogs, Chico and Lola.
“When it’s stressful, I’m still doing something I like to do. I don’t feel like I’m working when I’m dancing. It’s also exercise, which helps get everything out.”
Her quick laughter and level-headed planning might also be part of her winning combination to reduced stress. It also helps that balancing multiple activities is almost second nature to her.
“Dancing is not a lucrative business, so I’ve always had other jobs,” she says.
“I can’t imagine having lots of free time. I don’t sit still well. I like to do something.”