LOURDES LOPEZ / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

(Under)Water Ballet!

Not only have our dancers been getting back in shape for three weeks of rehearsals ahead with choreographer Justin Peck starting on Monday, but they have also been learning how to hold their breath! Why? For tomorrow’s underwater photo shoot with Fort Lauderdale’s new glossy, high-society magazine Venice!

Interestingly, one of our dancers has a leg up over the others! Corps de ballet dancer Chase Swatosh tells us about his life before dance as a semi-professional swimmer and diver below!

Dancer

Chase Swatosh

I began swimming when I was a baby and was on a competitive club swim team from the age of 8 to 15, when I transferred to diving on my high school dive team. In swimming, I qualified for and competed in many junior olympics swim meets (usually two per year).  One year, two of the relay teams I was on made the top 16 times in the nation — one of which was second in the nation. For the two seasons I dove, I competed in CIF (California Interscholastic Federation – state championship). The latter season I qualified for All American but didn’t quite make the cut. 

I loved both swimming and diving although they’re different. Swimming is probably the most physically challenging type of exercise I’ve ever done (besides dance) which makes it great for conditioning and cross training. It teaches you to have amazing breathing control and to be mentally disciplined to finish races strong, even when your body wants to give up. This, of course, is very applicable to dance, among other things in life as well.

Balanchine

Dubbed as Balanchine’s ‘underwater ballet,’ ‘Ballo della Regina’ appears to take place in a beautiful grotto. Photo by Daniel Azoulay.

Diving is a different story; it is dynamically physically demanding but not nearly as intensive as swimming or dance. Having also been something of a gymnast (mostly tumbling) diving was a natural progression for me. Flexibility and body awareness from dance and gymnastics helped me a lot in diving. It’s  probably the most fun activity I’ve ever done. 

My philosophy about cross training is that anytime you learn a new sport or activity, you are learning to use your body in a new way. I think dance — or ballet specifically — is the pinnacle of physical activities where body awareness is absolutely crucial. So anytime I learn a different way to use my body, even if it’s totally contrary to ballet technique, that information becomes extremely helpful and in some way applicable to dance. – Chase

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for some fun behind-the-scenes shots of tomorrow’s underwater photo shoot! 

SEE ALSO:
Principal dancer Patricia Delgado’s summer cross training tips!

Mr’ “B’s” Underwater Ballet – Ballo della Regina

5 Reasons to Begin Ballet as an Adult!

Have you been wanting to learn ballet but have little or no previous training? Maybe you took dance as a child or a young adult, but never pursued it seriously? Or, maybe you just never had the right opportunity to get started?

Whatever the reason, learning ballet (especially for the first time) seems like a daunting feat! Miami City Ballet School completely understands this and has developed a Ballet 101 Workshop for beginners starting this June and July. In the following post, Kris Kramer, a former professional dancer with Miami City Ballet and teacher for Miami City Ballet’s School’s Open Adult Class division, shares 5 top reasons for why this workshop is the perfect opportunity to take the plunge and start ballet!

Beginner Ballet

Students in Miami City Ballet School’s Open Adult Class division.

Reason #1: Customized Class

Ballet 101 was created for true beginners and those seeking to better understand and improve the most basic ballet positions and steps. Each class builds upon the next and after completion of the workshop, students can progress to our Beginner Ballet class with more confidence and ease.

So, why not just attend Beginner Ballet class? For Beginner Ballet, students can drop-in for a single class or come regularly each week, so they do not follow a steady progression when learning the most basic to more complex steps. First-time ballet dancers, who don’t know the basic positions and steps, could feel a little lost. In Open Adult Division classes, “Beginner” encompasses a wide range of abilities. Ballet 101 is designed for those at the entry level of “Beginner” to give students who require the extra attention necessary for starting ballet.

Reason #2: Chicken Legs

We’ve all seen them. Those guys and gals with awesomely toned bodies — muscles galore — but little old chicken legs. Ballet is one of the best workouts to not only strengthen and tone your entire body, but also to improve coordination and body awareness. Bring on the élevés and relevés to work the lower extremities, especially the calves, ankles and feet, and you too will start seeing results that no other workout can accomplish.

Reason #3: Amazing Facilities

Miami City Ballet and Miami City Ballet School are both housed in one of the few facilities in the world built from the ground up specifically for dance. The building and eight studios are unparalleled to any in South Florida. Who wants to learn ballet slipping around on a waxed, wood floor, or do jumps on hidden concrete below? That’s an injury waiting to happen! Learn ballet in one of MCB School’s state-of-the-art studios with lightly sprung marley flooring, full-length mirrors and plenty of barre space.

Reason #4: A Treat for You

Do you spend most days running around after your kids, working crazy hours or watching too much TV? It’s time to get out of the grind. Wouldn’t it be a nice change of pace to have some “you” time to move your body and learn something new? Here’s your chance to do something for you.

Reason #5: Awesome Teacher

When you think of ballet, do you conjure up images of an old Madame eerily pacing the studio,  barking out counts to the dancers, “five, six, seven, eight,” as she swings her cane haphazardly around? Here’s a little shameless self-promotion that I think most of my students would agree with. As a teacher, I am welcoming, encouraging, insanely passionate about ballet, and enjoy having a light-hearted, fun and exciting class. If you are feeling a little intimidated about the whole prospect of learning ballet, I’m the teacher for you. - Kris

Beginning Ballet

MCB School teacher Kris Kramer instructs a student in our Open Division.

Have more questions about Ballet 101 or our Open Adult Division? Leave a comment below or contact Kris directly by clicking here!