Company Dancer Mario Espinoza: How I’m Spending My Summer Vacation

After the Ballet Hispanico Company members took their final bow of the season at Celebrate Brooklyn a couple of weeks ago, they certainly didn’t retreat into hibernation for the summer! Although they are technically on break from their rigorous Ballet Hispanico schedule, our dancers stay active, dance, teach, and have fun throughout the summer.

All summer long, we will be bringing you insider looks at how our Company members spend their time off!

This week, dancer Mario Espinoza shares with us all about his fun in the sun!

From Mario:

“I’m currently relishing in the marvelous New York summer as I take advantage of the free time, spending long, relaxing days by the Atlantic ocean shore in Long Beach, NY. A few snacks and plenty of water, in combination with a good sun-screen and fluffy literature, are sufficient to let the hours pass by like the cool, salty breeze.

Time has been invested exploring the hours of the night. I stay up later than normal on weeknights, spending time with friends that come to visit. My friends are also on their time off, and they come to experience the city that never disappoints. I love hosting dinner and rooftop parties at home, exploring neighborhoods and finding treasures in flea markets. The fun seems to be never ending!

Another exciting endeavor has been working on photography. Having beautiful and willing friends a plenty, there have been many collaborations where gorgeous beings have allowed me to capture their essence and beauty. In my TUMBLR you can see some of the images I have captured this summer and in earlier days.

At the moment Justin and I are planning a trip to East Africa. Justin and I will be traveling to Uganda and Kenya, which is very exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. This will be our second visit to Africa this year, but it will be a first to these countries. In January we were in Egypt and Ethiopia, so the current nerves are most like those of an explorer-one that thrives in the thrill of a first experience.

I look forward to sharing more stories and pictures upon my return!”

Photo Credit: Maryana Hordeychuk 2012

First Pointe Shoe Fitting!

Ballet Hispanico School of Dance Administrator Jessica Prohias recently accompanied the students in our Pre-Professional Level 3B class to their first pointe shoe fitting EVER! Read on for details and pictures of the day that every ballerina-in-training dreams of…

It was an exciting day on Saturday, October 29, 2011. Despite the cold and snow (only the fourth time to snow in New York in October), our Level 3B students trekked over to the Capezio store on 51st and Broadway to be fitted for their first pair of pointe shoes! Caridad Martinez (BH’s Pre-Professional Coordinator) and I decided to make this a group fitting, as a first pair of pointe shoes is a huge deal for a developing dancer. As a milestone in our dancers’ young lives, please see both parents and student’s experiences of the day below:

“My first day going on pointe was….. AMAZING! Honestly, if you really try hard in ballet, when you actually go on pointe, it will be a breeze. Of course, wearing the pointe shoes felt odd at first, but then it got easier. Plus, it was REALLY EXCITING! At first, I sort of felt like a duck, I admit that. I felt like I was flopping around in big pink clown shoes. But then later I felt comfortable, and it was a really fun experience.”

-Elizabeth Weinstein

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Company Dancer Lauren Alzamora: How I Spent My Summer Vacation

I had a very enjoyable summer and even managed to escape part of the East Coast heat wave by traveling to Colorado to perform as a guest dancer in the Aspen Music Festival. While in Aspen, my boyfriend and I took a beautiful 4-hour long hike, through fields of wildflowers, to Grizzly Lake, a small glacial lake at about 12,500 feet of elevation, near the continental divide. Luckily we didn’t run into any bears, though there had been recent sightings in the area.

Although my retreat to the mountains was wonderful, the highlight of my summer happened in Manhattan. In addition to my full schedule with Ballet Hispanico, I teach pilates, both privately and at a studio in Chelsea called Kinected Center. Each year Kinected hosts an anatomy intensive in conjunction with distinguished faculty at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine called FAMI Workshop (Functional Anatomy for Movement and Injuries). I helped organize the workshop for about 90 participants this year and also got to attend. We spent four full days listening to lectures and navigating the Gross Anatomy Lab, where I got to hold a human heart, touch the spinal cord, and see what a hip replacement looks like (among many other things). The unique design of the human body is so incredible – it was a life-changing experience to have the opportunity to “look inside.” The experience has made me further appreciate what we, as dancers, accomplish with our bodies, often defying what nature intended for us. It is a reminder to take care of the body I have, and also to assist my fellow dancers in doing the same!

-Lauren Alzamora

My boyfriend and I at the top of the hike: Grizzly Lake in Aspen, CO