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Quick Chat: Ariana Berlin

December 10, 2009
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Quick Chat: Ariana Berlin

Her passion and drive is undeniable and unstoppable- not even a debilitating car crash could keep her from her dreams of competing at UCLA. Now in her fifth year at the university, Berlin is enjoying being on the other side of the floor as an undergraduate assistant for her Bruins. She's also put her talents to great use in front of the Hollywood cameras. Inside Gymnastics sat down with Berlin at a UCLA gymnastics practice recently to chat about her experience at UCLA with Ms. Val, her passion for dance and where it has led her.

You have a background in dance and you were on scholarship here…

I started dancing when I was about 13 and got on a professional troupe when I was 15. I started dancing at Sea World; it was just a lot of performances. I started break dancing at the age of 15 or 16. I was originally a hip hop dancer and then, because I had a gymnastics background, break dancing came a little easier to me and I fell in love with it. It was my median between gymnastics and dance because I wasn't doing gym at the time.

How long did you take off from gymnastics before you started back?

I hadn't competed in four years. I didn't know if I could come back because of my leg [injury]. I had a rod in my leg and I was in a lot of pain. But I guess my drive to come to UCLA and my passion to be here just took over.

Now you've [transitioned to a different role} and you're doing some stunt work and auditioning. Talk a little bit about that.

Well, I'm a fifth year senior so I haven't graduated yet. But I'm doing stunt doubling on [the] TV show Make It or Break It and we just did another show Three Rivers –just 1 episode. I've been going on a bunch of dance auditions. Actually, I opened my dance agency and I booked a Make a Wish Foundation commercial for gymnastics so I shot that. Now I'm going in for an acting audition for Make It or Break It so wish me luck!

How do you feel when you go into these auditions? Nervous? Excited?

For dance, I'm super excited. I get to learn a free routine regardless! But acting? I'm not so confident. I'm not an actress. I've never taken classes so I'm gonna wing it and hope it goes well!

You got such a great response from the audience when you did your floor routines. Talk about the feeling of how the audience reacts and how you convey emotion through your performances to get that kind of reaction.

It's great because, during the four years I've been here, I haven't been able to do many huge dance performances and to be the only one on the floor-- or on the stage, as I think of it-- I'm the spotlight the whole time and the audience is looking at me. It's great to just put on a show for everyone and to know I'm being appreciated. It's great to light it up.

You're undergraduate assistant this year… What's it like being on the other side, working with the team?

It's super fun! Let's just say I'm happy I'm not training anymore. I had my fun and I had an amazing experience and a great time, but it's great to come to the gym and not have to train super hard. It's fun working with everyone. I get to see everyone's personality and see their comfort zones. Not everyone is super comfortable with dance and I get to help them with that and work through that to get to where they should be for the routine so it's fun.

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