Our 5-week Summer Intensive is quickly coming to a close. It’s hard to believe that just five weeks ago, Miami City Ballet School welcomed over 200 students—some coming from as far as Brazil, Italy and even Poland. Nerves were high for many of our first-timers during the first week, but it wasn’t long before you could see confidence building, friendships forming and, of course, a whole lot of dancing.
Over the past week, our school faculty has been evaluating student hopefuls for the opportunity to attend Miami City Ballet School’s Pre-Professional School Year Program. We decided to catch up Gustavo Pacheco, one of our Summer Intensive students who also attends School Year program, to get an insider’s look at what life is like at Miami City School.
MCB: How long have you been attending Miami City Ballet School?
GP: I started as a student in Miami City Ballet School in September of last year.
MCB: What were your first days here like?
GP: For me, the experience was very different from what I was used to in Brazil. Besides being in a different place, the training here was different too. For example, in Brazil, I had many female teachers, so I hadn’t really had a chance to learn male technique from a male dancer. When I came to Miami City Ballet School, I began learning from male dancers, which was very helpful, but also very challenging. Here, the boys get to work on male technique every day. This wasn’t something I was used to.
MCB: What type of classes do you take at Miami City Ballet School?
GP: Now during the summer, the boys take a Men’s Technique class in the mornings. After that, everyone takes a Variations class. After lunch, we usually take classes like Jazz, Modern, Floor Barre and, for the boys, Weight Training. Then after that we have rehearsal, of course.
MCB: What is your favorite class?
GP: Out of all the classes, I think my favorite class is the Men’s Technique class. Here, I feel like I get a chance to do the most of what I love, which is classic ballet. This class makes me feel good.
MCB: How many hours do you train?
GP: We dance from 9:30AM to 4:30PM with a one-hour lunch break, so about 6 hours a day, Monday through Saturday.
MCB: Do you have any daily rituals, either before or after dancing?
GP: Before class I usually eat something small like cereal. I don’t really like eating too much in the morning, but I’ll have something so I don’t dance on an empty stomach. Before class I also like to warm up, massaging my legs and anywhere on my body that feels tight.
After class, I usually go to the gym and ice my legs, then put them in hot water to relax them. This was recommended to me because I had an injury not too long ago. It helps prevent my muscles from staying tight, and gets me ready for the next day.
MCB: What do you like to do after class?
GP: I like to hang out with my friends, but I also love to just be in my apartment and watch TV or movies. I am sometimes too tired to go out, so getting to be home is great.
MCB: What is your favorite part of being a student at Miami City Ballet School? What is the most challenging part?
GP: My favorite part is that I’ve been able to receive a lot of training in male technique. I think this type of training is very helpful because I eventually want to dance as a professional. At the same time, learning more male technique has also been the most challenging part because I’m learning how to do new things with my body.
MCB: What advice would you give for students just starting out at MCBS?
GP: I think that as a new student it’s important to remember to be respectful to everyone around you, both teachers and students. Your first impression is what everyone will remember about you. New students should also come here mentally and physically ready because it’s very hard work.
MCB: What are you looking most forward to this year?
GP: I am excited to be working as a student apprentice with the Miami City Ballet dancers. I just found out a few days ago that I would be taking on this role. I cannot wait to get a chance to work with the company.