Radio City Rockette encourages dancers to train during summer

Elizabeth Bork, Radio City Rockette

We’ve all heard the phrase: “Sit back, relax and enjoy the show.” It can be tempting for performing arts students to do this during the summer months. But not keeping in shape by actually being in the show or training can hinder your growth as a dancer.

Elizabeth Bork, Radio City Rockette, said not dancing or keeping in shape during the summer can cause dancers to take a few steps backward in their training.

“From experience, I know that it’s really hard to come back once you take a break,” she said. “If you don’t stay in shape during your break, you waste the first few months of your return trying to get back to where you left off before your break.”

Bork said during her off season, she likes to mix her training up.

“My workout of choice is running, but I also do a lot of swimming, kickboxing, cyclying, yoga, and pilates,” she said. “Although dance class, ballet in particular, is the thing that keeps me in the best shape.”

Bork said keeping in shape is important to her because Radio City Rockettes are required to audition annually.

“There are no guarantees,” she said. “Which makes every woman so grateful and appreciative for their jobs.”

Students who make specific dance levels at the end of a semester at OCU also are not guaranteed to be placed in the level the following semester. Dance performance seniors also must meet the dance department’s dance level requirements before applying for graduation. Not keeping in shape during the summer can be a factor in dancers not progressing  or moving down in their levels.

Ali Boolani, adjunct faculty/strength coach, said the biggest misconception regarding fitness is that workouts of longer duration result in losing more weight.

“Quality is better than quantity,” he said.

Boolani offers fitness tips for dancers in this video:

For specific cardiovascular and strength exercise ideas, visit Dance Spirit’s fitness article page.

To see what some performing arts majors are doing during the summer, click here.

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Performers share summer plans

Chaz Wolcott

Sidney Kounkel

Roger Ellis

Michelle Luneau

A challenge college artists often face is finding a summer performance job.

While some performers are lucky to score a gig, it’s essential for artists to continue their training during the summer months, said Elizabeth Bork, a Radio City Rockette.

Here’s how some student artists from Oklahoma City University plan to spend their summer:

Kounkel, dance performance sophomore, will intern at Broadway Dance Center in New York City from June through August. Kounkel said she will work at a trucking company completing clerical tasks until the internship begins.

Roger Ellis, theater performance senior, will perform in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and “42nd Street” at Lyric Theatre, 1727 Northwest 16th St. Ellis said he will pursue a master’s degree in music theater at San Diego State University in the fall.

Michelle Luneau, graduate dance, will compete as Miss OCU in the Miss Oklahoma Pageant June 8-12 at  Mabee Center in Tulsa, Okla.

Chaz Wolcott, dance performance senior, also will perform in “42nd Street” at Lyric Theatre during the summer.

Graduates of Oklahoma City University often continue their performance careers. Here are a few venues where alumni are dancing:

  • Dorney Park………………………………………….Allentown, Pa.
  • Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc. Seminar……………… Dallas, Texas
  • Six Flags………………………………………………….Atlanta, Ga.
  • Music Theatre of Wichita…………………………..Wichita, Kan.
  • Frontier City………………………………….Oklahoma City, Okla.
  • Lyric Theatre Productions…………………Oklahoma City, Okla.
  • Williamstown Theatre Festival…………..Williamstown, Mass.
  • Timberlake Playhouse………………………………Mt. Carroll, Ill.
  • Mac-Hayden Theater………………………………..Chatham, N.Y.
  • Busch Gardens…………………………………….Williamsburg, Va.
  • Paramount Kings Island……………………………..Mason, Ohio
  • Tulsa Ballet……………………………………………….Tulsa, Okla.
  • Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz……………….Oklahoma City, Okla.
  • River North Chicago Dance Company……………….Chicago, Ill.
  • Houston Metropolitan Dance Company………..Houston, Texas
  • Music Theatre West……………………………..Long Beach, Calif.
  • Harris Golman Productions……………………..San Diego, Calif.
  • Follies Bergere……………………………………….Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Walt Disney World…………………………………….Orlando, Fla.
  • Disneyland Resort…………………………………..Anaheim, Calif.
  • Tokyo Disney Resort…………………………………..Tokyo, Japan