Othello Workout

To continue my blog from yesterday, I thought I would expand a bit on the work I am putting into my role as Othello, beyond learning the movement and acting skills.  The greatest thing to my success will be having enough stamina to perform a full show, let alone show after show.  We may not shoot hoops, run a football field, or race the clock, but dancers are most certainly athletes in their own right.  As many readers will understand (even those that maybe don’t know much about ballet), diet and working out are essential to any athlete’s success.  When rehearsals finish at 6:00pm, I spend the next hour in our physical therapy room using the gyrotonic machine to stretch and increase flexibility, I lift weights, do sit-ups, and stretch.  Below is my workout every night.


Joffrey Othello workout

I start by using the gyrotonic machine for 20-30 minutes to manipulate the muscles of my back.  This particular version of Othello is choreographed by Lar Lubovitch, a modern dance choreographer, meaning the movement and lifts are far more complex that simple over head lifts that I have grown accustomed to in my ballet training.  In a two+ hour ballet, I’ve lost count of how many times I lift the female dancers, turning and twisting them in new and different ways.  Don’t get me wrong, the movement is beautifully complex, but If I do not stretch and mobilize the muscles of my back afterwards, my muscles tighten up and I am not in a good position to do it all again the next day.  The gyrotonic machine was actually designed by a former ballet dancer, and the exercises utilize movements found in yoga, tai chi, swimming, and gymnastics.  It is not at all intended to build muscle, but rather it is intended to increase flexibility, stability and mobility in joints.  For me, it is the perfect machine to increase the flexibility of my back and keep my range of motion at a high level.

Next I move on to lifting weights, specifically the bench press.  I perform 5 set of 12 reps at 180 lbs.  Obviously it helps with my partnering and arm strength, but it also helps build my chest muscles, and improves my shape and line.  Perfecting your line is probably not what bodybuilders are concerned with when it comes to using the bench press, but it’s amazing what the same exercise can do for different athletes.  Next I use regular free weights to build strength in my shoulders.  I do 4 sets of 20 reps at 25 lbs on each arm.  
No work out would be complete without sit-ups.  Core strength is so important to a dancer, and for vanity sake, for those of you that may have seen the Othello billboard on Elston and Webster, you know my costume doesn’t leave much up to the imagination.  And for that, I do 4 sets of 50 situps every day. 
The last aspect of my workout includes using the Pilates Reformer to counterbalance all the pushing my muscles do while dancing and in the above workout.  I find that using this machine to do pulling exercises gives me a good antagonist workout to balance the pushing/pressing I do throughout my day.
Voila! You have graduated from Fabrice’s Othello workout!  It’s usually followed up with a large meal, passing out, waking up the next morning to rehearse again 10-6, and finishing the day with the same workout.  
Countdown to opening night…..5 days!

Othello workout phase 1: gyrotonic machine


Othello workout phase 2: bench press

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Othello workout phase 3: free weights

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Othello workout phase 4: sit-ups (notice the costume, or well, lack thereof)

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