Working Out With Arolyn Williams

After spending so much of her day in the studio, Ballet West principal Arolyn Williams prefers to head outside once it's time to cross-train: “There's just something about having the wind in your face, watching the light change—it fills you up in a way that a gym just can't."

Two or three times a week, she runs up to five miles in a nearby park. “I hated running in high school," she admits. But, inspired by her marathon-runner mom, she took it up a few years ago to work more cardio into her routine. “As I got better, I started to feel like it wasn't work, it was fun," she says. “When it's good, you feel like you're just floating." She came to enjoy it more than the elliptical or bike, where she sometimes had to set the resistance so high to get her heart rate up that she'd just tire out her legs. Today, she feels the push-off action of the feet in running has helped her improve the speed of her petit allégro. And—in combination with her twice-weekly Pilates and Gyrotonic sessions—the parallel motion has helped her avoid overuse injuries. “It's a good counterpoint to all the turning out we do," she says.

What she loves doing most, though, is hiking, a passion she's had since growing up in Western Massachusetts. “I feel so lucky I ended up at Ballet West because, not only is it a great company, but we are so close to these amazing mountains. And mountains are definitely my happy place."

She's careful to wear strong boots and to bring hiking poles to keep weight off her joints if she's going for a long hike or will be navigating steep terrain. Although hiking at altitude provides a healthy challenge for her endurance, she mostly does it for the “magical moments," like when a herd of mountain goats crosses her path. One day, she hopes to hike the length of the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail (both are over 2,000 miles). “After I'm done dancing, obviously!"

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Courtesy Esse

What It Was Like When Ruth Bader Ginsburg Was in the Audience—or Backstage

The 27 years that Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent on the U.S. Supreme Court were 27 years that she spent as one of Washington, D.C.'s most ardent, elegant and erudite supporters of the performing arts. The justice, who died on September 18 of metastatic cancer, was also an avid cultural tourist, traveling to the Santa Fe and Glimmerglass operas nearly every summer, as well as occasionally returning to catch shows in her native New York City.

Ginsburg's opera fandom was well known, but her tastes were wide-ranging. Particularly in the last 10 years of her life, after Ginsburg lost her beloved husband, Marty, it was not unusual for the petite justice and her security detail to be spotted at theaters several nights a week. She saw everything, from classic musicals to serious new plays, plus performances that defied classification, like Martha Clarke's dance drama Chéri, with Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo, which toured to the Kennedy Center in 2014.

To honor Ginsburg, Dance Magazine asked three dance artists whose performances the justice attended to recall what Ginsburg meant to them.

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