On a recent fall morning in Manhattan, Paulina Waski found herself contorting across a glamorous Upper West Side fitness studio. With its sensual bistro lighting and colossal reflective walls, the room was a smaller—if not more stylish—stage than she has come to know—which is, for any professional dancer, an actual stage of course, but for Waski specifically, the Metropolitan Opera. Fresh off a summer edition of "Swan Lake," the American Ballet Theatre company dancer was not, in fact, in the star Wallace K. Harrison-designed opera house but, blocks away, in an impressively-sized Equinox to celebrate its partnership with ABT.
Originally launched last year, the partnership was developed by the luxury fitness club's Director of Programming Group Fitness Chris Vo as an immersive fitness and dance group class experience that embraced high performance through what he describes "the ultimate culmination of the best in art, culture, and fitness." Re-born as new, 50-minute periods, members can now recieve the full classical training routine via across-the-floor combinations that incorporate the fundamentals of ballet with center barre, athletic jumps, turns, and Thera-band sequences. "My approach was to follow the structure of a standard ballet class, explains Vo, who—in addition to leading a range of Equinox classes over the last 4 years—recieved his BFA in dance from the Juilliard School. "We had close ties to ABT through the lineage and legacy of our ballet professors and repertoire," recalls the instructor. "After graduating, I’ve had the privilege of performing works by many choreographers including Twyla Tharp and Jessica Lang. My working relationship with Lang allowed me to assist her in ABT’s world premieres of 'Her Notes' in 2016 and 'Garden Blue' in 2018."
Waski is but one of the many dancers lucky members can encounter at the Ballet by Equinox x ABT classes that are available at select Equinox clubs in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. While hers took place at the brand's Sports Club New York, past cameos include Erica Lall and Kathleen Boren at other locations. “Our members are always seeking opportunities that enhance their lifestyle and establish a greater connection to high-performance living," adds Judy Taylor, the Equinox's SVP Communications, Events and Philanthropy. "We are constantly looking for partnerships such as ABT, where members can interact with art and music through movement, creating a truly immersive experience across cultures they otherwise may not have access to.”