Boston Ballet's Lia Cirio with Paulo Arrais in Balanchine's Agon. Photo by Liza Voll, courtesy Cirio

Now That She's Back at Work, Lia Cirio Shares the Hobbies, Music and More That Got Her Through the Shutdown

Boston Ballet has recently gone back to the studios, starting up rehearsals again (with multiple safety precautions in place) to prepare for a hybrid performance season. For principal Lia Cirio, it's a welcome return. But she never really stopped moving during the six-month shutdown. On top of creating dance films, holding a season for the Cirio Collective and designing T-shirts to raise money for various causes, she was also commissioned to create a new work for Boston Ballet's ChoreograpHER program next May.

Dance Magazine recently caught up with her for our "For Your Entertainment" series to hear about the hobbies, books, podcasts, memes and more that have kept her going.


Pandemic hobbies:

"I picked up my ukulele a few times and learned to play some songs. I also did a few fun, DIY arts-and-crafts projects. I created a small T-shirt (and some other products) line called Art Heals. A friend and I created a logo and I chose a saying for each product such as 'Art Heals... Wash Your Hands,' and the proceeds went to different organizations. The first shirt raised about $1,000 for the Greater Boston Food Bank. I just released my newest design and product to raise money for the Elizabeth Stone House in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month."

Shutdown side projects:

"During quarantine, the only way I could stay sane was to stay as busy as possible. A fellow principal dancer, Paul Craig, and I created a dance video called 'Reverie,' very early in the pandemic. After that, we worked with Helen Pickett on her project called Home Studies.

"My brother Jeffrey Cirio and I were able to hold a small and safe season of our contemporary dance company, Cirio Collective. We worked in a garage in Martha's Vineyard and created a dance film with filmmaker Quinn Wharton.

"And just a few days before Boston Ballet's season began, I finished another project with Helen Pickett. Now that we are back, my focus is on being back in work mode."

Online classes:

"I never actually took Worldwide Ballet Class's live classes during quarantine, but when I started getting back in shape and was able to dance in a studio again, I utilized their YouTube playbacks. I loved taking Darla Hoover's class, as well as Chris Stowell's and Rubén Martín Cintas'. I think the whole dance community is so grateful to Ruben and Diego Cruz for these classes.

"I've also been doing Pilates and yoga classes through obé fitness, and have continued to do so now that we are back to work."

New self-care routine:

"I bought a stationary bike to do cardio while gyms and SoulCycle were closed. Now that I have that routine of waking up and getting on the bike, I've kept doing it every day before work. And Pilates and yoga through obé. Pilates has always been a part of my warm-up but now, more than ever, it's hard for me to start class without a cat–cow or a number of downward-facing dogs!"

On her bookshelf:

"I am about to start reading The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue from this month's Book of the Month. Two of my favorites that I've read in the past few months are Normal People (loved the Hulu series as well) and The Guest List (a wedding murder mystery)."

Netflix binges:

"Currently, I am watching (more like bingeing) 'The 100' on Netflix. I also loved 'The Umbrella Academy' and 'Selling Sunset!' "

Favorite podcast:

"I love listening to 'Song Exploder.' It is a podcast where music artists break down their songs and the little details that go into making them. I love hearing each artist's unique process and the thoughts behind it all. It reminds me of choreography. My favorite is Hozier's 'Nina Cried Power' episode and the Fleetwood Mac episode."

Recent movie recs:

"I am pretty lucky to be living in Massachusetts and that our COVID-19 numbers have been fairly low. We have returned safely and slowly to a new normal. A few weeks ago I was able to go to a real-life movie theater with my quarantine bubble of friends. We saw Tenet and my mind was blown. I highly recommend!

"In the beginning of the pandemic I watched Jojo Rabbit and have to say how incredible I feel that movie is. I loved it so much that I named my foster/newly-adopted kitten, Jojo, after the movie."

Favorite Instagram accounts:

"@the_happy_broadcast is such a great account to offset all the bad and sad news in the world. I mean, who wouldn't want to know that rare pink dolphins have returned to Hong Kong? Or that it is illegal in Switzerland to own just one guinea pig because they get lonely?

"I also love following @paul.mescal because 🔥and I loved him in the show 'Normal People,' and @livetheprocess because their brand is effortless and I love their energy. Of course, I can't live without @balletmoods. That account kills it in the relatable dancer memes. I definitely always find myself LOLing."

Music on repeat:

"Well, I was commissioned to create a new ballet for Boston Ballet's ChoreograpHER, and so if you look at my Apple Music, Shostakovich and Dvořák are the most played. However, when I need a break from those beautiful pieces, Louis The Child's new album Here For Now and Dua Lipa's Future Nostalgia and her Club Future Nostalgia are on repeat.

"I also just got a new record from this year's Record Store Day called Hi Tide Groove (DJ's Choice 1969-1981). It's so fun and perfect to play on a Sunday afternoon while cleaning or getting ready for the week ahead."

Dance film obsession:

"When Nedelands Dans Theater released its 'Standby' video by Paul Lightfoot, I literally could not stop watching it. I could not get enough of it. It's so fresh, so inspiring, from the choreography and dancers, to the lighting and videography. I absolutely loved it!"

Latest Posts


Studio shots by Alinne Volpato

Jovani Furlan's Open-Hearted Dancing—And Personality—Lights Up New York City Ballet

Something magical happens when Jovani Furlan smiles at another dancer onstage. Whether it's a warm acknowledgment between sections of Jerome Robbins' Dances at a Gathering or an infectious grin delivered in the midst of a puzzle box of a sequence in Justin Peck's Everywhere We Go, whoever is on the receiving end brightens.

"I could stare at him forever," says New York City Ballet principal Megan Fairchild. "He's just that kind of open spirit. He's not judging anything. It's like he's looking at you with his arms wide open and a big smile—even if he's not smiling, that's the energy he's giving you."

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS