Calvin Royal III – Recently, Calvin Royall III made his New York Debut as Apollo during American Ballet Theatre’s (ABT) fall season. Critics highlight Royal’s performance as Apollo as standout among the ABT’s New Romantics program. As an artist Royal embodies the strength in vulnerability to which we all admire and strive. In this article posted on the Recreationalist, Royal offers an intimate look concerning his upbringing as well as the professional and personal routines that keep him on balance.



“I remember after the first year of taking ballet I wanted to quit because it was so hard, muscles in my body I didn’t even know existed were cramping and it was painful.”

Soloist at The American Ballet Theatre, Calvin Royal III took his first ballet class at the age of 14; an extremely late start to instruction in the world of classical ballet. Despite his delayed beginning, Calvin placed as a finalist in an elite scholarship competition during his senior year of high school earning himself a spot at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at The American Ballet Theatre in New York City, one of the most selective and competitive in the world. He stands alongside legendary ballerina Misty Copeland as one of only a few dancers of color to earn the distinction of Soloist at ABT performing in full-length classical ballets such as Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and Romeo and Juliet.Apart from long hours spent in the studio or at the theatre, making time for his body and mind to relax is equally as important as mastering technique. Royal often finds retreat by way of intentional stillness and rest, whether in Sheep’s Meadow of Central Park or at Half Dome in Yosemite Valley. He says that being one with nature is his best source of restoration.We recently sat down with Calvin to learn about how ballet influences his recreational routine, the intimate relationships between dance, body and mindfulness and why being visible in his talents for the inspiration of others is one of his biggest motivations.


On Routine

I don’t just roll out of bed and start doing a full dance sequence. I would probably injure myself. Doing warm-up exercises before starting class is so crucial and essential to prepare my body and my mind for what’s to come. Everything is warm, ready, loose and limber.

As a dancer there have been times where I’ve gotten minor injuries. Through the recovery process, I’ve learned so much about just how important it is to take time before doing those more advanced and extreme positions. To really warm yourself up properly and take time to set yourself up so you’re ready for whatever the day may bring.

Starting ballet my freshman year in high school, I had to play catch up. At the time I didn’t know that I was going to become a professional ballet dancer, it was just something that I always loved. I always loved to dance and I wanted to explore it and to explore ballet and modern dance. When I got into the high school of performing arts, it was sort of my chance to learn how to move my body in this new way.

I remember after the first year of taking ballet I wanted to quit because it was so hard, muscles in my body I didn’t even know existed were cramping and it was painful. When I came to New York, I was in a class of 12 dancers who had been studying ballet since they were four and five years old. I knew that if I wanted to youtube-embed get to that level I had to put in the work and the time warming up, doing the classes, doing the rehearsals, learning the entire vocabulary, just getting the strength to do half of these things. It was a journey.

I went to a summer intensive. Most young dancers go away for about six weeks to study and train with new teachers. You’re around other dancers from all over the world. Getting to see other dancers that were my age but that were just soaring and doing all these incredible things, I came back feeling like I wanted to go for it. I wanted to push past the pain and the achiness of my muscles and see how much further I could go and how much stronger I could get. That was sort of my inspiration to keep pushing myself.  CONTINUE JUMP TO: The Recreationlist


Leave a Reply