Health & Body
Photo by Whitney Browne, Courtesy Guy

Tamisha Guy has always loved pushing her body. The dynamic A.I.M dancer and rehearsal director performs like she has no limits. And she's recently taken up a sport that pushes her even further: boxing.

Two or three times a week, she takes a 45-minute class at New York City boxing studios Shadowbox or EverybodyFights. Workouts include a warm-up of core exercises and body-weight strength training. "Then we put the gloves on and go at it on the bag," says Guy.

Tamisha Guy in Kyle Abraham's The Gettin'. Photo by Jerry and Lois Photography, courtesy A.I.M.

Although she was initially afraid that the workouts would bulk up her already muscular physique, she's found they've simply added definition to her arms. More importantly, they've improved her stamina.

"Thirty minutes into class is usually the point where you're like, 'I can't punch anything else,' but you have 15 more minutes to go," she says. "It's just like when you've been dancing for an hour and have to dig deeper to find something in yourself to stay present. Pushing through the uncomfortable part is so gratifying." She feels boxing has put extra fire in her to keep up the intensity onstage.

Her favorite time to box is in the morning. "I find I have more energy going into rehearsals after boxing," she says. "I feel so ready to take on my day."

But if she's got more than four hours of rehearsal, she'll wait to box until after dancing so that her arms aren't overly fatigued. "Then, if I still have a little fight in me, I might take an evening class."

Tamisha Guy is also working to start a side hustle as a fitness model. "You're only young once," she says. Photo by Whitney Browne, courtesy Guy.

For now, she's not looking to enter any fights. "I think I'm gonna stick with the bag," she says, laughing.

Though she admits she loves the feeling of being in a ring. "I've had a few private training sessions inside it, with my trainer calling out sequences," she says. "But he wasn't hitting me back!

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The boxers of Element Gym and dancers of St. Paul Ballet collaborated for The Art of Boxing—The Sport of Ballet. Photo by St. Paul Ballet, Courtesy Neuger Communications Group.

St. Paul Ballet simply needed space to rehearse. The troupe found that, and so much more, at a local Minnesota boxing gym. Today, the dancers train side by side with boxers at Element Gym, and the two groups have even teamed up for a co-choreographed show.

The Art of Boxing—The Sport of Ballet first debuted last fall and will be reprised April 15 at Saint Paul's Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. Nowhere near Minnesota? You can catch a teaser of the production below. It's pointe-shoes-meets-boxing-gloves and a true display of grit and grace—from both the ballerinas and the fighters. The interactive performance sheds a light on the rituals of each practice.

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