Currently in his second season with Ballet Arizona, Erick Garnica starts his day anywhere between 7-9 am, depending on when company class starts. “I always give myself time to get a good breakfast, it’s always important to fill up with carbs in the morning so I know my stomach won’t feel empty after hours in the studio,” says Garnica. “I have a banana before I head out and coffee, always coffee!”
Before leaving the house, he gathers everything he will need for the day from ballet slippers to warm-up clothes, and then he’s off to the studios. He makes sure to arrive 30-45 minutes before class starts to stretch and warm up his muscles.
“I always do crunches, pushups, and hamstring exercises to get my muscles ready for barre. For class I thinks it’s really important to always come in with a positive approach, knowing that you can do everything that is thrown at you even if it needs practice.”
Right now the Company is heading into their second week of shows for The Nutcracker and that switches up Garnica’s schedule a bit. He will still have regularly scheduled rehearsals for the company’s remaining repertoire but with a couple of show days thrown in. “During Nutcracker season we will normally have rehearsal or a show after class on stage,” says Garnica. “For shows after class I will go to my dressing room, get my makeup done, and my costume on and I’m ready to perform.”
Over the course of a season, dancers are in the studios 5 days a week and perform in over 50 shows, so it is critical dancers look after their bodies. “It’s super important,” he says, “after all we are athletes!” That means icing, massaging, and stretching his muscles regularly, which must be working because he has never been injured… “Knock on wood!” But for Garnica this also means watching what he eats, and “seeing how specific foods really help your body recover faster.”
When asked why he chose a career in dance Erick says, “Being able to do what I love everyday and to be able to come into the studio and create art! When performing, I love the energy you receive from the audience once they’re done receiving the energy from your performance. It’s a fulfilling moment when they respond.”
For his inspiration, Erick looks to many different places. “From ballet itself and specific dancers, to fashion and how a certain fabric will move and just seeing beauty being created. Watching ideas come out of a choreographers head and brought to life by dancers is something not everyone gets to experience and I definitely do not take that for granted.”
Outside of dance, Garnica is still involved with the arts. “I love to create art through different mediums, whether it be fashion, painting, or photography.” However during the off season, he has a more job working in restaurants to help cover living expenses!
Asked to give some advice to young, aspiring dancers: “Do not give up and really understand that you can make it! All that it takes is dedication and hard work and viewing ballet as something fun and rewarding. I think when dancers start seeing this as their job is when the magic disappears. Never just live life on autopilot, always make sure you’re using your brain to help you work smarter so you won’t have to work harder.”
To get to know a little more about Erick click here!