It was such a treat to meet Roni Mahler, a beautiful ballerina, who hosted our classes for Ballet Week at the Ranch. Roni has been coming to Rancho La Puerta every year for the last 20 years to teach ballet to our guests. She was a principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre and the National Ballet of Washington, D.C. Roni is currently the Artistic Associate of Ballet San Jose and is a permanent member of the dance faculty at the Julliard School.
Listening to Roni speak about ballet is an absolute delight. In her talk, The Ballet World, she showed photos of her in the 1960s as the principal dancer in such performances as Gisele and Coppelia. She even showed us footage of her in the Dying Swan as the swan herself.
Later on, I took two ballet classes with her, Body Contour Ballet and The Joy of Ballet. Now, I used to take ballet when I was a little girl, so I thought, this would be easy! Nope! However, I absolutely loved the classes (even though I’m not flexible at all). Roni was so inspiring. She is in incredible shape for her age and is limber as ever. It really showed that you don’t need to let age define you. Really, it was this class and my lack of flexibility that has inspired me to get on track to truly getting in shape.
The hardest part about the class to me were the moves on the ballet bar. First of all, I had to stand on pads to even stretch my leg up to the bar. It wasn’t that big of a deal because 90% of the class had to do this. Second was just being able to keep my leg up on the bar and straight while we stretched from side to side. I loved it even though it was hard because it also helped my posture as well (which definitely needed the help!). Just watching Roni’s grace and posture as she danced I felt also taught me tremendously. Overall, it was a great learning experience and surprise. I wasn’t expecting to learn so much about myself in the classes. I’m also so glad I was able to go to the second class because I received one on one help from Roni.
Really, ballet reminds me in a many ways of yoga. Both have structured moves, focus on posture and flexibility. I think a combination of these two activities would do wonders for anyone looking to get in shape. Personally, I’ve looked into adult ballet classes here in San Diego after enjoying Roni’s class so much!
You can learn more about Roni at her site ronimahler.com.