• Ashara Shapiro

Tempered Steel. Roxey Ballet marries grace with brute strength and it's not new to us.


If you have seen Mohammed Ali in the midst of a fight you will notice the grace with which he moves his feet. This constant movement requires stamina. A dance of spatial awareness and patience. A dance of incredibly rigorous and laborious work. Repeated moves over and over till mastery. This is the exact dance of ballet. Each athlete although so incredibly varied in their perceived mission needs to direct their body toward perfection, to balance and to a savage mental dedication. You must be able to work past the discomfort, past the exhaustion, you must require, even demand of your mind submission and quiet. For the reality is, it is all a fight. Life is a fight as is the expression of humanity. The pureness of showing up and pushing your boundaries.

This connection of boxing and ballet has been alive for Mark Roxey for 30 years. He began as a street boxer and as a street dancer and the fates turned him to ballet one afternoon on the streets of NY. He fell into the ballet role effortlessly. Why? Well he already trained himself to fight through his own perceived limits and come out on the other side of growth. He was mentally strong already and the dance of both genres required the same abilities. There is a beautiful marriage of what is perceived as one delicate and one brutish but those are merely presumptions. To delve further is to see that ballet is brutish and the dance of boxing incredibly graceful.

What has recently begun as a new craze, this boxing ballet combination, Mark Roxey has been quietly mastering. He has focused his legacy on changing the face of ballet through his personal fight. Battling his own storms in creating a non- profit, branding his art and wanting it passionately. Feeling alive. That is his draw. The tunnel vision of being present, where the world quiets. The need of being a career artist and the form of expression of the utmost importance. Now in his 25th season founding The Roxey Contemporary Ballet, he is seeing another level of kismet. Boxing saved him as a young boy on the streets and allowed him to become an artist, now being a professional trainer and having several wins under his belt, boxing is saving the art. They are validating one another, both incredible expressions of humanity.

With performances such as Tempered Steel, Dracula and Othello, he has consistently broken down the notions of traditional ballet. He has taken it, turned it around in the boxing ring and produced a new kind of dance. You can call it an expression of humanity. We do. We build our season around this idea. We cannot wait to engage our audience here at Roxey with an emotionally charged and thought-provoking season. Performances such as We VS. C, Stories of Triumph over Breast Cancer and Carmina Burana, an exploration in the history of storytelling and transformative musicality. These are not the typical ballets performed nor will you see the typical dancer. Our professional dancers join us from all over the world.

We are starting this season strong, as we will physically embody Dracula and tell the story we have all loved reading throughout our youth. We will follow closely with the holiday favorite, The Nutcracker, where we provide incredible teaching moments and experience for our sister school Mill Ballet School who joins our professional dancers. We invite you to join us. We also hope you take your notions of ballet and leave it outside the ring, so we can show you how we dance. A couple rounds and it will be sure to knock you out.

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