Joining Chelsy Meiss at the Barre
July 14, 2020
First Soloist Chelsy Meiss teaches Intermediate Ballet Barre for In Studio online on Zoom every Thursday, 5:00 to 6:00 pm ET. Find out more about Chelsy's training schedule, her classes and advice for dance students during this time.
How are you filling your days during this time of social distancing?
My days are filled with a lot with ballet classes and Pilates workouts combined with daily walks in our neighbourhood. My husband Gabriel and I moved into our house at the end of January. We have been getting to know our neighbours really well, each night we do a salute on our street by making noise with pots and pans or musical instruments to thank frontline workers. The National Ballet of Canada is very engaged with everyone who works in the organization and we have Zoom meetings every two weeks. I have been teaching many ballet classes during this time for In Studio as well as for the National Ballet’s Instagram. I also had the opportunity to teach my National Ballet colleagues Company Class.
I started a YouTube channel which had been a passion project of mine for the last year! I never had the time until now to figure out how to create and edit videos. It is still a new venture I am exploring but I try to upload a new video each week. Check it out and let me know what you think.
What does your training schedule look like these days?
I work with one of my ballet coaches Monday to Saturday for two hours in the afternoon. It is more of a ballet ‘lab’ than a full class to be exact. We go very slowly back to the basics of technique. This is incredibly beneficial for me right now with more time on my hands as normally my days at the studio and theatre move so quickly that I am unable to dive so deeply into my technique.
Monday to Friday, I also have Pilates with Je-an Salas at 10:00 am for an hour and Company Class 11:15 am to 12:45 pm. I swap between Pilates and Company Class as I am already doing my own private class where I get the specific corrections my body needs. It is really nice to join Company Class as we always have one of our pianists play and I get to see my wonderful National Ballet family for an hour and a half.
I have also loved dancing along to classes available on Instagram LIVE. I have friends that dance in ballet companies all over the world and it has been a great opportunity to learn from dancers I admire that I would not have the opportunity to do otherwise.
In the coming weeks, I plan to add a workout that I can do outside in my backyard. This will contain some explosive jump movements as right now I’m training in my attic which limits my ability to jump.
What is your advice to dance students or dancers to keep their strength and technique at a reasonable level while studios are closed?
Take advantage of online classes! I would also encourage trying different classes that you might have thought about but never had the time or courage to get to. I think it’s important to be active every day, whether you do a HIIT class or take a nice walk. I like to stretch on the floor while I’m watching something on my laptop so that I’m not hunched in a poor sitting position for an extended period of time. Keep doing the simple conditioning exercises that you know well whether it’s doing foot and ankle strengthening with a theraband or calf raises. We have the ability to listen to our bodies right now with not being pressed for time. If you didn’t get to doing what you wanted to do today, just get to it tomorrow.
What can people expect from and what do you hope people will get out of your online ballet classes?
I hope to create a dialogue together and make discoveries about our technique and set goals. I like to share my own ideas that help me each time I come to class. I find imagery very powerful and I demonstrate a lot which I think is very helpful.
I’m constantly learning from the students in my classes. When teaching, I absorb this information and then take it and apply it to my own technique. It is this continuing cycle of learning and sharing that is extremely valuable. I enjoy creating exercises that ignite the imagination and make us feel our most beautiful and powerful because this is what dancing has always done for me.