There are ballerinas and there are flower girls -- and now there is a "Flowerina" as well.
Dancer Jewel Ellis, 22, has gone viral on social media for adding a creative spin to wedding ceremonies.
Ellis has become the go-to "Flowerina" for weddings in Atlanta and across the country. Videos of her gracefully twirling down the aisle have captivated audiences across social media, garnering more than 2.1 million likes on TikTok alone.
"I'm a Flowerina. Basically, that means that I perform on people's wedding days, in lieu of the flower girl, or at their reception," Ellis said. "It's a merge of my passion and my work."
She said the job started after she received a message on Instagram inquiring about performances at weddings. She said she was unsure at first, but decided to do it. The business took off from there.
"I did my very first wedding in the summer of 2019 and it was just completely random," said Ellis. "It just took, and more and more people just kept on asking for it."
Ellis, who trained with the Northeast Atlanta Ballet until she was 17 and danced in college, estimates that she's done more than 350 Flowerina performances over the past three years. She said she improvises most of her dances and is sure to make each performance unique to the client.
"I like to make the client feel as included in the performance as possible," said Ellis, who added that clients pick the song, what she wears and when she performs. "For the performances, I don't have a set routine. I improvise and that's one of my favorite things about this whole thing because I just feel so free doing it."
She said she's honored to play a small part in someone else's big day.
"My drive for doing weddings is realizing that I'm included in somebody's special day -- this is a monumental day in most people's lives," Ellis said.
"One of the things that I cherish the most when I get to perform," she added, "is that intimate moment when I'm with the bride, and I'm the only person there with her, literally like the last person that sees her before she gets married. It's just the most beautiful thing."
Ellis said she's been able to meet many different people through events, word-of-mouth and social media. She said her path is not a traditional path for most ballerinas, but it's a path that came from following something she loves.
"Never in a million years would I have thought that ballet would have allowed me to have this deep emotional connection with people," she said. "That's something that I get excited about each time I perform."