New York City Ballet corps member Jenelle Manzi baking in her apartment

Courtesy Jenelle Manzi

NYCB Dancer Jenelle Manzi Has Launched Her Own Snack Bar Company

New York City Ballet corps member Jenelle Manzi has played around with gluten-free home baking for years, and she even has a popular food blog. But two years ago, after her colleague Sara Adams suggested she start selling the tasty snacks she often baked for her fellow NYCB dancers, Manzi took the plunge and signed her LLC, Get Golden. Now, thanks to the COVID-19 shutdown, extra time offstage has allowed her to expedite her company's launch timeline. On August 27, Get Golden introduced its first snack bar, Savor, with direct-to-consumer website sales. Manzi has already had to place another purchase order, and a national fitness brand has reached out for samples.

Two women sit, one in profile and one with her back towards the camera, on a cluttered table and in front of a white borad.

Manzi and a Get Golden team member at the office

Courtesy Manzi

Manzi set out to create a brand and a bar that wouldn't be just for dancers. Gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan, Savor claims to provide lasting energy from the healthy fats in its nut-seed blend and anti-inflammatory properties from Manzi's signature turmeric-coconut-caramel butter. "I wanted something that was savory, salty, sweet at the same time," says Manzi. "No birdseed, no weird sugars," and crucially, she says, something that tastes homemade.

Influenced by mentors she had met once at an event for female food-entrepreneurs, Manzi evolved her plans from making the bars herself with an at-home kitchen license and selling them at farmers' markets to small-batch manufacturing in a facility in Los Angeles. Manzi used her own savings to sign the LLC and start testing commercial kitchen spaces in New York City. She then raised a round of capital from friends and family, which enabled her to work with a team of people (including a product manager, a UX web developer, a product photographer, a social media manager, a creative director, an investor relations specialist and a San Francisco–based strategy team) to get her product and brand to market in just two years.

A stack of four nutty snack bar squares in front of a yellow background

Get Golden's Savor bar

Courtesy Get Golden

In order to scale her home recipes, Manzi slightly tweaked the liquid-to-solid ratio, but allowed no additives to constitute the whole ingredients. From there, she researched everything about consumer-goods production, from die-lines (the shape and folding template for boxes) to what type of wrapper would best preserve the bars' high-fat content.

With the pandemic complicating in-person events, Manzi's Get Golden launch was fully digital—and targeted for our times, from the sunset-colored branding to the good-vibes messaging. "COVID has been shocking for everyone, so we wanted to make the unboxing experience similar to that of a care package," she says.

As for the post-pandemic future, Manzi plans to continue dancing at NYCB. Concurrently, she wants to continue growing Get Golden, branching into more categories than snack bars and creating a strong brand and a profitable company. "I think the only way to grow is to do it slow and smart," she says. "At the end of the day, that's what's important to me: that people enjoy the product and enjoy the brand."

Latest Posts

Complexions Contemporary Ballet's Tatiana Melendez Proves There's No One Way to Have a Ballet Career

This is Pointe's Fall 2020 cover story. Click here to purchase this issue.

Talk to anyone about rising contemporary ballerina Tatiana Melendez, and one word is bound to come up repeatedly: "Fierce." And fair enough, that's a perfectly apt way to describe the 20-year-old's stage presence, her technical prowess and her determination to succeed. But don't make the mistake of assuming that fierceness is Melendez's only (or even her most noteworthy) quality. At the core of her dancing is a beautiful versatility. She's just as much at ease when etching pure classical lines as she is when boldly throwing herself off-balance.

"Selfish choreographer that I am, I want Tatiana to stay with Complexions for all time," says her boss Dwight Rhoden, Complexions Contemporary Ballet's co-artistic director and resident choreographer. "She has a theatricality about her: When the music comes on, she gets swept away." Not too shabby for someone who thought just a few years ago that maybe ballet wasn't for her.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

The Anatomy of Arabesque: Why Placement and Turnout Are Key to Achieving This Crucial Position

Audition for any school or company, and they'll likely ask for a photo in arabesque. The position not only reveals a great deal about a dancer's ability, but it is also a fundamental building block for more advanced movements, like penché or arabesque turn. Beyond technique, it can be the epitome of grace and elegance onstage, creating unforgettable images—just try to imagine Swan Lake or Balanchine's Serenade without an arabesque.

Yet many dancers are unsatisfied with their arabesque lines, and students frequently ask how to improve their extensions. (Social media posts of dancers with extreme flexibility don't help!) In an attempt to lift the back leg higher, dancers may sacrifice placement and unknowingly distort their position in the process. How can you improve the height of your back leg while maintaining proper placement and turnout? We talked to a few experts to better understand the science behind this step.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

#TBT: Gelsey Kirkland and Mikhail Baryshnikov in "Coppélia" (1976)

Gelsey Kirkland and Mikhail Baryshnikov share the unique experience of having danced at both American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet during their careers. The two overlapped at ABT in the mid-'70s, where they developed one of the best-known partnerships in ballet. They were both celebrated for their dynamism onstage; however, in this 1976 clip of the pas de deux from Coppélia, Kirkland and Baryshnikov prove they are also masters of control.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks