Tag Archives: Boston Ballet

Today: An interview with the Boston Ballet’s Erica Cornejo.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Erica Cornejo, a Principal Dancer with the Boston Ballet and a new mother to a wonderful baby boy.  I have long loved ballet, and as a mother-to-be, I was curious about how the roles of dancer and parent compliment one another.

 Boston Ballet Principal Dancer Erica Cornejo and her husband, Carlos Molina, performing in Balanchine’s Emeralds © The George Balanchine Trust. The Boston Ballet will be performing Jewels (which includes the ballet Emeralds) in May.  

Photo credit: Gene Schiavone

I am truly grateful to Erica for generously sharing her time and responses, and to the Boston Ballet for the opportunity to get to know one of their talented performers better.  I especially loved Erica’s comments about knowing at such a young age that she was born to dance.  That passion certainly shows through on stage.

When did you first start dancing?

EC: I was 4 years old when I started ballet.

When (or how) did you know you belonged in the Ballet?

EC: From the first day, I knew I wanted to do ballet. I was very little, but somehow I felt that passion for ballet inside of me at very early age.

Do you hope your child will pursue dance?  Why or why not?

EC: My husband, my brother, and I are dancers – for sure our child will be around ballet, music, and all kind of art because we love all that, but he will be what he desires to be. We love to do many things besides ballet and we would like to expose our child to try different things.

How has your routine changed since becoming a mother?  How has this affected your dancing?

EC: Well I guess the routine of everyone who is a parent changes. Now I have to adjust my schedule to my baby’s schedule, to be able to be with him as much as I can and do all the care for my baby. He is my number one priority and I will do my best to be a good mom.  As for the moment, I haven’t start dancing yet but what I feel already that my baby’s happiness brings more strength to me and just thinking about him makes my day more special.  I’m a lucky person, I have the most wonderful husband, the best family and now my miracle, my son who is my life.

What do you love most about ballet?

EC: What I love the most about ballet is that I’m able to transport myself and became a different character in each ballet I do. Being able to express my emotion through my dancing and make the audience experience what I feel is the best feeling.

If you had a full day to yourself, how would you spend it?

EC: With my loved ones always!

What is one misconception about ballet dancers you’d like to dispel?

EC: I say it all the time, dancers are humans, we have our good and bad moments like everyone else. Sometimes people tend  to think that we are like machines, that everything has to be perfect all the time.

Which performance are you most looking forward to this year? 

EC: Because I just had a baby, I was not able to be around to learn some of the new ballets. But I’m looking forward to whatever I will be cast in when I come back. I will try to be the best of myself.

Many thanks, again, to Erica and the Boston Ballet.  And my sincere congratulations to you and your family!

Would you like to read more?  Here’s my earlier interview with Boston Ballet dancer Emily Mistretta (added incentive: that post includes a photo of me waiting to go on stage as a two and a half year old ballerina-in-training).

Also On Tap for Today:

When you were little, what did you aspire to be? 

Today: Boston Ballet’s Night of Stars.

Looking for something fun (and free!) to do in Boston on Saturday night?  Boston Ballet is presenting a special, one night only performance of Night of Stars on the Common.  The event is open to the public and begins at 7 pm, with a total running time of 2.5 hours, which includes a 25 minute intermission.  This performance will kick off the Ballet’s 50th season and promises to be a very special event.

I love that the Boston Ballet is bringing this performance to the public, making their beautiful work easily accessible, and hope that you’ll consider attending if you’re free Saturday night.

I used to think ballet performances were reserved for extra sophisticated and fancy people (I’m sometimes both… but often neither), but over the past couple of years I’ve had the chance to see these talented dancers perform and know that when something is good and beautiful… you just get it.  At Night of Stars, the Company will perform a range of classical, neo-classical, and contemporary favorites, including George Balanchine’s Serenade and Symphony in Three Movements and Jorma Elo’s Brake the Eyes, so you’ll get a chance to see a little of everything.

The Boston Ballet was kind enough to share a preview of Saturday’s performance:

Whitney Jensen and Jeffrey Cirio in Boston Ballet’s Plan to B, photo by Gene Schiavone

Balanchine’s Serenade © The George Balanchine Trust, photo by Gene Schiavone

Joseph Gatti in Boston Ballet’s La Bayadère, photo by Gene Schiavone

If you’d like to soak up more of this gorgeous imagery, Rachel Cossar, Boston Ballet dancer and all around lovely person, is sharing behind-the-scenes updates (including rehearsal photos and a sneak peek of the stage being built) on the Ballet’s Twitter and Instagram accounts.

The weather looks like it plans to cooperate, and I can think of few better ways to spend the last evening of summer than enjoying an outdoor performance.  (If it does rain, Night of Stars will be held the following day, Sunday, the 22nd at 7 PM).

Grab a few friends (and maybe a picnic dinner) and meet me there.

Also On Tap for Today:

How do you plan to spend the last day of summer?

 

Today: The weekend according to Instagram IX.

Hello, Monday Tuesday.  It’s going to be one of those weeks, isn’t it?

The weekend according to Instagram IX

  1. Nick and I kicked the weekend off in lovely fashion on Friday night, thanks to the Boston Ballet.  The Ballet generously offered me a pair of tickets to the opening night of Sleeping Beauty.  And beautiful it was.  I highly recommend making it to this show (and grabbing a glass of Champagne on the way in).  The dancers are incredible, the costumes are fabulous, and the music is divine.
  2. My sister and I headed to the Cape on Saturday morning with our parents.  Andrea’s wedding is just two months away (beyond excited), and I got to tag along for her hair trial and a meeting with her florist.  We also swung by a couple of our favorite beaches.  It’s incredible how this winter’s storms have entirely shifted the shoreline in some places.
  3. I love Sunday mornings at CrossFit Southie.  The classes are always small, and I get to spend the rest of the day limping around.  Just kidding… kind of.
  4. For the strength portion of our workout, we were working up to our max reps of bench presses at either 1/4, 1/2, or 3/4 of our body weight, or at our body weight for prescribed.  I got 2 reps just under 1/2 my body weight, and 20 reps at 1/4.  (Sometimes I think I should carry a calculator around the gym.)  I was working with two women who are stronger than me, which I always find intimidating, but they encouraged me to keep adding weight and pushing it just a bit more.
  5. New favorite app:  Percolator.  It’s much more entertaining in color.
  6. While I pretended to get stuff done around the condo (but mostly just followed Clark around and Percolated him), Nick got the grocery shopping done at Whole Foods River Street.  What a man.
  7. We didn’t have a hospital visit scheduled this week, so Clark took his magical therapy powers (and matching vest) to the college kids.  We spent two hours in a senior dorm at Bentley, just doin’ what we do (i.e. I hold the leash, Clark snuggles with strangers).
  8. It wouldn’t be a weekend without a Polar FT4 shot.
  9. And it wouldn’t be spring in Boston without… Christmas lights?  If I had my way, the Commonwealth Mall would look like this year round.

Also On Tap for Today:

What is your favorite photo app?

Today: Win by losing with the #FitFluential March DietBet.

I mentioned earlier this week that I’ve been under a bit of stress lately (and I mentioned Cheese Doodles in the same sentence, which may be telling…).  After lots of late nights, fourteen hour days at the office, and the regular go go go of life, I am due for a reset.  And more meals made at home.  And more commitment to workouts.  And more time finding balance and peace.

FitFluential dietbet

I don’t talk much (if at all) about weight around here.  Partly because I don’t think anything I could share would be helpful (I have no significant experience or wisdom on the topic), and partly because it’s not something I spend much time thinking about.  I’m too busy thinking about work, my husband, outfits I can make my dog wear when my husband isn’t home, and Michael Jackson.  I am happy to be in a place where I focus less on numbers, and more on how I feel.

Every now and then, though, I lose my balance.  I forgo moderation.  Intuitive eating goes out the window (or wherever good habits take vacations).  I think about inventing and starring in a TV show called Moderate Loser, wherein I lose five pounds and then spend the rest of the season going to CrossFit with Bob, borrowing Jillian’s clothes, and getting life coached by Dolvett.

At this moment in time, could I stand to lose a few pounds to be healthier and fitter (and also, fit better in to my pants)?  Yes.  (Allow me to refer to Cheese Doodles just once more.)  Would having a supportive community along for the ride help?  Yes.  Would knowing that, were I to lose those few lbs, one of my favorite charities would benefit?  Yes again.

FitFluential March DietBet

If you find yourself in a similar position (that is to say, it would be safe and healthy for you to lose a few pounds), I encourage you to check out the upcoming FitFluential’s March DietBet, which starts on March 11th. Looking for a little motivation to exercise, eat well, and stay healthy this month?  DietBet builds in competition, community, and the opportunity to support charities, helping us all to stay on track.  Who wouldn’t want to win by losing?

Those who lose 4% of their weight (which is verified through a very simple process that involves uploading photos at the start and end of each DietBet), split the pot of money that comes from participants’ entry fees ($25 per person for the FitFluential March DietBet).  One of my favorite features if the option to donate your winnings (or a percentage of your winnings) to charity.  I think this is such a great option, and have committed to giving my share to The Greater Boston Food Bank.  I think that’s what they call a win, win.

If you’d like to learn more about how DietBet works, I encourage you to visit their website.

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this Campaign. All opinions are my own.

Also On Tap for Today:

  •  Looking forward to a night at the Ballet
  • Adding “has a breakfast nook” to our condo-hunting list
  • Loving the snow!

If you could invent a TV show, what would it be called?

Today: A night at the Boston Ballet.

Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of being a guest of the Boston Ballet on opening night of their Fall Program at the Boston Opera House.  After having the opportunity to interview corps de ballet member Emily Mistretta earlier in the month, I’d been so looking forward to the evening.  My friend Elizabeth (I promise I know people with other names, too) and I arrived a little early to sip a glass of Champagne while taking in the scene at the Opera House.

We had fantastic seats just to the right of the stage, and took in the scene as we waited for the first ballet to start, kicking off the 2012-2013 season.

The evening’s first ballet was Christopher Bruce’s Rooster, set to music by The Rolling Stones.  As a Stones fan, I was hooked at the first number.  It was so much fun to watch.  I immediately recognized Rachel Cossar.  She is so incredibly graceful (and such a lovely person, in person!); I couldn’t take my eyes off her and the other dancers.

For the second ballet, we enjoyed Awake Only, a world premiere by the Boston Ballet’s resident choreographer,  Jorma Elo.  I loved seeing Emily Mistretta on stage; what a talent!  I need to be sure to read more about the story behind the ballet, which I had a tiny bit of trouble following as my mind wandered to thoughts of how incredibly strong these dancers are (as showcased by those tiny costumes!), how many shoes they must go through, and what it must take to stay focused through three ballets.

The final ballet, The Second Detail, was choreographed by William Forsythe, with music by Thom Willems.  The music had a very raw, industrial feel and the dancers danced with such attack, it was electrifying.  It was the perfect way to end a wonderful evening in the city.  I am already looking forward to my next trip at the Ballet.

Fall Program runs through November 4th, with tickets starting at $29.  There is a special deal available today only, featuring $31 tickets to Fall Program for any seat (yep, even the really fancy ones).  No tricks, just treats.

Also On Tap for Today:

Are you dressing up in costume today?

 

Today: An interview with Emily Mistretta of the Boston Ballet.

I’ve always enjoyed the idea of ballet.  I live for essie ballet slippers polish, ballet trends in fashion, and the movie Center Stage.  I have an extensive collection of legwarmers (perfect for going to and from yoga).  The last time I actually wore ballet slippers, though, I looked something like this.

That’s somewhat of a lie, but I refuse to post my middle school aged ballet photo.  Needless to say, my appreciation has been from a far, and my behind the scenes knowledge of what it takes to be a ballerina is limited, at best– so when I had the chance to interview Emily Mistretta, a member of the Boston Ballet’s Corps de Ballet, I leaped (somewhat gracefully) at the opportunity.  I am so grateful to Emily for taking the time to share her experience and insight.

[Photo courtesy of Emily and The Boston Ballet]

What does a typical day in the life of a Boston Ballet ballerina look like?  Does this change as you approach performances? 
EM: A typical day during rehearsal schedule starts with a class at 9:45 followed by a six hour rehearsal day until 6:30. The schedule varies depending on how many rehearsals you have, but it usually tends to be a pretty full day of dancing.   Our rehearsals demand all different kinds of ballet movement.  It is not atypical to transition back and forth from classical to modern or jazzy ballet rehearsals through the course of the day. For example, my day could start off with something classical, like Nutcracker, followed right by the the jazzy Rolling Stones piece “Rooster”. Then right back to another traditional ballet such as Sleeping Beauty. All before lunch.  As we get closer to performances, we start to focus more on the particular upcoming piece.  We change to a theater schedule about a week or two before showtime, which starts later in the day and goes later into the night. This way we get our minds and bodies ready for the performance schedule.
Is your fitness routine focused primarily in the studio, or do you cross train?  If so, what are some of you favorite ways to work out?
EM: Because what we do is so physically demanding, the majority of my fitness gained while working in the studio.  However, you don’t always get the cardio you need from working in rehearsals, so I like to cross train as well.  It’s always good to do your own abdominal work and keep a strong core by doing Pilates or Gyrotonics, but I also like getting in the pool.  Swimming is great and I also like to hold on to the edge of the pool and do a series of my barre exercises in the water.  It is incredibly difficult with the resistance of the water, but you also feel so great and supported.  I love a good yoga class as well, though I like to use it more as release then as an intense workout.  
What are some of your favorite foods for fueling your routine? 
EM: I recently discovered the joy of juicing,  it’s fantastic!  In the morning I like to make juices with fresh fruit and vegetables, like apples, beets, kale, carrots and ginger.  It’s a great way to get  my body all the great vitamins and nutrients that it so often craves.  I usually compliment the juice with something more substantial, such as an egg and a piece of toast. This usually keeps me from wilting by the time our 2:30pm lunch break rolls around.  Smoothies are a great snack to have during the day, when I need a quick boost during our short breaks that won’t bog me down. I like all different kinds and I always add some protein powder to keep up my energy.  
Do you consider dancers to be athletes (for the record– I certainly do!)?  Why or why not?
EM: I absolutely consider ballet dancers to be athletes!  I think it should be considered an Olympic sport!  But one of the most beautiful things about ballet is that while it is physically demanding as a sport, it is even more challenging as an art.  On top of the athleticism you have to be creative, beautiful, and painlessly graceful. It is wonderfully hard!
 
What do you love most about what you do?  What brought you to the Ballet?  Have you always wanted to dance?
EM: What I love most about ballet is that as a dancer and an audience member you have the rare opportunity to witness life through artistic expression.  There are moments you have on stage where your body is filled with adrenaline, energy is shooting through every part of you.  You are not dwelling on the past and you haven’t taken the next step into the future, you and your body are only consumed in the present.  Time slows and you are nothing but living in the bliss of the moment, experiencing each second as it comes to you..  I think you can give that to the audience so that they are along with you experiencing the present themselves and both sides are communally witnessing and enjoying life together.  I’m not quite sure I knew what that feeling was when I was a kid, I just knew that I felt it.  I liked the feeling of dancing and moving around as fast as I possibly could, which is probably why I usually tend to enjoy things that are a quick tempo!  As a child I knew I wanted to do whatever that was that made me feel so alive and if that meant dancing then I was going to dance!
Do you have any thoughts about the recent fitness trends involving “ballet-inspired” workouts? 
EM: Ballet technique creates phenomenal muscle structure.  When I look around at all my coworkers, guys and girls alike, it is so obvious!  Everyone is so beautifully toned and shaped!  Ballet technique, if done correctly (a never ending quest), has this way of creating incredibly strong muscles in a very linear and non bulky way.  I’ve personally never tried ballet tone classes, but I certainly would recommend any class that incorporates ballet technique.
 
What is your best tip for staying healthy and balanced during performance season?
EM: My best tip for staying healthy during performance season would be to listen to your body.  Give it the nutrients and proteins it craves, and stay routinely active. This will prevent fatigue and decrease risk of injury.  A dancer is generally most fatigued after a performance, so rest is extremely important. Stay on track with your health maintenance, including massages and physical therapy. Listening to and understanding your body will allow you to safely push it’s limits and increase it’s dancing potential! 
I am so looking forward to seeing Emily and her fellow dancers perform at the Boston Ballet’s Fall Programnext week.  In the meantime, I may need to dust off those ballet shoes…Also On Tap for Today:

Did you dance as a child?  Best/worst costume?