Interview with Rainer Krenstetter, principal dancer of the Miami City Ballet, since 2014
Rainer tells us about how to survive as a dancer in times of corona.
You are doing live stream dance classes on Instagram for intermediate and advanced dancers as well as private classes. How do you go about teaching online?
After everything was shut down due to corona, the Miami City Ballet started serving the community through educational and outreach programs throughout Miami, Florida and even worldwide. MBC offers online classes done by their highly ranked dancers. Our outreach program includes ballet basic classes, as well as stretching and strengthening classes for people more interested in Fitness, Yoga or Pilates.
I have been teaching intermediate and advanced classes for professional ballet dancers every Thursday for one hour. I had to adapt to the available space and ballet floor, and cut off big jumps and pirouettes in center – everything where space or height is needed.
You can watch one of his lessons in action here:
Beside the classes for MCB, a Japanese firm called „Unblanche“ and me are offering private classes for dancers any age. I’m teaching professional students almost every day for 2 to 3 hours, at night because of the different timezone. I don’t exercise with these students, more importantly focusing on showing exercises by hand, correcting them and focusing on their needs. Most students even rent studios by themselves for private training, so I can do a proper advanced class.
I realized my passion for teaching is increasing by not being able to dance actively on stage at the moment. The amount of different students as well as the positive feedback of returning students motivates me teaching even more. I’m not sure about being a teacher permanently as it is very exhausting.
What makes a good teacher?
Not every good dancer is a good teacher, and the same goes for the other way around. I learned in my career that you can pick up something from every teacher. You have to know what is good for you.
I myself enjoy teaching with a lot of passion. I want to share my experience and knowledge, so I’ve been teaching master classes and workshops for five years now. Prior to the pandemic, I was even asked to teach for the first time for a professional company as a ballet master in Graz.
The studios of MCB are still closed. How do you keep yourself fit physically and mentally nowadays?
During the first 3 weeks, I quite enjoyed the vacation time as I have been working non-stop for 18 years. Usually I am only taking 1 or 2 weeks off per year. Afterwards I started missing the company and the audience obviously.
Physically, I definitely miss the morning classes to work out. At home, I alternate between ballet classes at the barre and stretching, strengthening and push up exercises for at least 45 minutes. Now the beaches are open, so I can regain some stamina by swimming for an hour.
I really miss practicing big jumps to keep the muscles fit and push the legs. This is a huge problem for all male ballet dancers, because I think doing small jumps at home is more feet exercising than muscle strength.
Additionally, MCB also offers online ballet classes for company members on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, as well as searching for other options to keep us fit.
When do you think MCB reopens for rehearsals?
I hope we can do classes in small groups at the MCB studios starting in August – of course, with many regulations in line like social distancing, body temperature measurements, avoiding dressing rooms etc.
The first rehearsal period is supposed to be Alexei Ratmansky’s Swan Lake which will premier later in the season. Hopefully Alexei and his wife will teach us the choreography themselves. First we have to learn the variations, pantomime scenes and even the Pas de Deuxs without partners.
We all hope the virus goes down fast, so we can go back to the usual rehearsal procedures.
Usually you are invited to some renowned summer galas. What’s happening with that this year?
All galas and events were cancelled. Many organizations lost a lot of money due to the lock down and are struggling for survival. Even donations were cut down as well, so this year all my guesting won’t be happening unfortunately and its all very unclear for 2021or even 2022.
As an artist I really love those special events. It’s always an honor to be part of them. I enjoy meeting my international friends from other companies, sharing our passion together and traveling around the world.
If you want Rainer to be your teacher during this challenging times, just reach out to him on his private Instagram for more information.
Interview in 2017 about his experiences in the US
RAINER KRENSTETTER, PRINCIPAL
Hometown: Vienna, Austria
Rainer Krenstetter was born into a dance family in Vienna where he began his ballet training at the Ballet School of the Vienna State Opera. In 1999, he was accepted into the Royal Ballet School in London and continued his training there until 2000 when he became a corps de ballet member with the Vienna State Opera Ballet. In 2002, he joined the Staatsballett Berlin under the direction of Vladimir Malakhov and went through the ranks up to Principal dancer in 2013. He joined Miami City Ballet as a Principal dancer in 2014.
Throughout his training, Krenstetter participated and won medals in various international ballet competitions including in Vienna, Brasilia and Luxembourg, culminating in his first place win at the Prix de Lausanne in 1999.
Throughout his prolific career, Krenstetter has danced principal and leading roles in most ballets in the classical repertoire including Swan Lake, Giselle, Don Quixote, Le Corsaire, The Nutcracker, Coppélia, Onegin, Firebird, The Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, La Sylphide, Cinderella and La Bayadere. Additionally, he has danced in ballets by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Vladimir Malakhov, Kenneth MacMillan, Auguste Bournonville, Michel Fokine, Alexei Ratmansky, Roland Petit, Maurice Béjart, Hans van Manen, Uwe Scholz, Clarke Tippet, Jirí Kylián and William Forsythe among others.
Krenstetter has also performed as a guest artist in various companies and galas internationally in Europe, Australia, South America and Asia; been a member of the jury at the International Ballet Competition in Rome and Riga; and guest taught at several dance workshops in many countries.
Rainer received the 2016 Miami Life Award for “Best Classical Dancer.”