TWB Company Dancer Sarah Steele interviewed TWSB student Sydnie Chandler Monet on her very successful Covid-era endeavor – the Perfect Timing Podcast. UPDATE: Sydnie’s podcast with Artistic Director Julie Kent is now up! Listen to it here.
Enter: Sydnie Chandler Monet, a 15-year-old student at The Washington School of Ballet and sophomore at St. Mary’s Ryken High School in Leonardtown, MD. Born and raised in La Plata, MD, Sydnie created the Perfect Timing Podcast at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to give the youth in her community a platform to discuss what’s important to them. During the month of June, four of Sydnie’s episodes made Elite Conversations’ Top 10 Podcasts. In July, three of Sydnie’s episodes made the top 10 again. In a special upcoming episode, Sydnie will interview TWB artistic director Julie Kent— listen here! For updates on future episodes, be sure to follow Perfect Timing on Instagram. We can’t wait to watch Sydnie continue to grow!
Sarah Steele (SS): Tell me more about how you started dancing at The Washington School of Ballet.
Syndie Chandler Monet (SCM): My mom put me into classes when I was five years old. I danced at this studio in Waldorf for maybe 3-4 years, and then I took a break, started taking piano lessons to fill up time, until my mom asked me, “Do you want to dance again?” and I said that I only wanted to do ballet because I really enjoyed it. So I auditioned at The Washington Ballet’s SE campus and got placed in 1B, and have been dancing ever since. Now I’m in level 7, so it’s been a long journey!
SS: What specifically about ballet drew you in over other forms of dance?
SCM: It was the music and the way that people move. When people think about ballet they think strict, hard, and discipline… which is true! But when I got a taste of it, I thought, this is stunning. This is beautiful. There are so many different versions of ballet—just being able to do all of those opened my eyes that this is such a beautiful form of dance and my favorite thing to do!
SS: What were the circumstances/inspiration that led you to start the Perfect Timing Podcast?
SCM: My mom came up to me and said, “While we’re quarantining, you can’t go into dance anymore so you have all this free time. Why don’t you start something like a podcast?” I just said okay! It didn’t really go anywhere at first, I just thought it was a fun idea. Throughout the month of March we kept talking about it and came up with the name. We found Elite Conversations and it kind of just blossomed from there. They edit my podcast, they put all the flyers together, my directory and everything. My first episode was June 8th. I can honestly say that my podcast has been one of the most rewarding things that I have done. I can give my peers a place to be free and safe to use their voices to talk about things that are important to them.
SS: How did your friends and family react? What has the response been like so far?
SCM: Back in March, when we came up with the idea, I asked a few people if they would listen to my podcast if I started one. Of course, they all said, “Yeah, totally!” But then a month later, I posted about Perfect Timing and a couple of people said, “You actually did it!” The encouragement I’ve gotten just warms my heart and makes me want to keep doing it.
SS: What has been the most exciting part of hosting your own podcast? The hardest part?
SCM: The most exciting thing is being able to branch out and find people that don’t just live in southern Maryland. I wanted to see what people across America were doing, what the youth my age were doing in their communities. I’ve had someone [on the podcast] from Minnesota, we’re finding someone who lives in Kansas… there are initiatives in all these places that I didn’t know about. That’s probably the most fun and interesting part about starting a podcast; I get to see what’s happening on both sides of this country.
The hardest part is probably finding people who really enjoy what it is that they do. Some people do things, maybe because their parents have pushed them to do it, for example. But it’s great that we have found people who really are inspired to do what they’re doing, like entrepreneurship.
SS: Summarize what Perfect Timing is all about. What kind of topics do you cover?
SCM: My podcast is a platform for the youth my age; a place to talk about things that are important to them, like a small business that they started that they want people to know about. I am kind of the mediator. My show is creating a spot for them to shine—giving them the spotlight.
SS: Where did the name Perfect Timing come from?
SCM: Nowhere in particular! My mom and I were looking at names, she had a few written down, and Perfect Timing just kind of sparked to me. I thought, you know, it’s the perfect timing for everything.
SS: Have you noticed a change within yourself since starting the podcast? How has running Perfect Timing impacted you?
SCM: Definitely. A couple of my guests have opened my eyes to current events that I didn’t know about, and I am seeing the struggles of those not only from my own inner circle, like my family, but the struggles that everyone else is facing. Everyone is going through something during this quarantine. It’s a new thing for all of us— it’s terrible, but we’re all going through it together.
For myself, the leadership in me is growing a little bit. Being able to speak out more, and not being uncomfortable speaking in front of crowds. I know I can’t see anyone when I’m on the podcast recording, but when there are people listening, it gives me a boost, knowing that people want to know what I have to say. It inspires me to keep growing with my conversations.
SS: For me personally, ballet offered a sense of discipline that I didn’t find anywhere else when I was growing up. What is one thing that dancing has offered you in your life outside of the studio?
SCM: Discipline is big, because ballet is very precise, and you have to want to do it… you want to be a perfectionist with yourself. I take that into other places, not necessarily to be a perfectionist (because no one is perfect…if you are, just give up now), but I’ll say to myself that I want to get good grades, I want to be able to help others. I’ll put that initiative that I put into dance into things outside of dance. It’s discipline, but it’s also responsibility and perseverance.
SS: What’s coming up for you this fall?
SCM: This fall I actually have a lot of things planned, but as you know, I’m going to be interviewing Ms. Kent very soon, so that’s exciting. I have Perfect Timing T-Shirts available now. I have also placed an order for face masks and necklaces with the Perfect Timing logo. My website is currently under construction, and Channel 4 news has shown interest in interviewing me and that’s still to come soon!
SS: Okay, are you ready? Let’s finish with a rapid-fire round.
- Favorite dessert? Tiramisu
- Nicknames? Syd or Squid
- If you could have one superpower, what would it be? To fly!
- Last book you read: Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson – it’s about a girl who goes to a private school and she is kind of finding herself.
- Role model: My mom. She’s a superwoman within herself, carrying on despite the hardships in her life. That’s what I aspire to be.
- Describe yourself in 3 words: Well-rounded, ambitious, compassionate.
You can find Perfect Timing anywhere you get your podcasts: