Fusco in William Forsythe's The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude. Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy PAB.

When It Comes to Cross-Training, Pennsylvania Ballet's Holly Lynn Fusco Goes the Distance

This story originally appeared in the August/September 2014 issue of Pointe.

It's not uncommon for a dancer to be dedicated to her cross-training routine, but Pennsylvania Ballet corps member Holly Lynn Fusco goes the extra mile—or two. During layoffs and summer breaks she takes a train to New York City for Gyrotonic classes. And when PAB is in season, she taps her Gyrotonic training to keep her body supple yet strong.


​Gyro Guru

Fusco started intensive training in Gyrotonic when she was a student at Miami City Ballet School. "Since the movements are circular, it helps me utilize all my back muscles," she says. Now, Gyrokinesis exercises are part of her daily pre-class routine.

Upper-Body Allure

Since Fusco's back tends to be tight, she builds flexibility and strength with this exercise: Lie facedown on the floor with your hands underneath your forehead, and legs and feet together. Slowly lift your head and arms up as far as you can and hold for 10 counts. Repeat 15 times. "A lot of dancers are concerned with warming up their legs, but your upper body is almost more important. It's how you carry yourself," she says.

New Heights

To prepare to dance at the high elevation of Vail, CO, where the company toured this summer, Fusco used the elliptical or a stationary bike for hour-long cardio workouts three times a week. "Russian Girl in Serenade is very strenuous—even right here in Philly."

Turnout Tune-Up

"I just overcame a hip injury, so my rotating discs are my best friend." Fusco stands in parallel with one foot on each disc and slowly lowers into a plié, rotates into turnout and then straightens her knees. "The goal is not to let the discs move when you straighten. This activates the front of the hips and glutes.

A Strong Start

Every morning begins with a bagel with cream cheese and homemade juice. "I'm obsessed with juicing and try to stick to solid colors," says Fusco. "Anything that's green can go in at the same time." The result: "It gives me the energy I need to get through class rather than just having coffee and crashing in an hour." Fusco also brings her juice to work, so she can sip on it all day.

Favorite Rehearsal Fuel

She loves pumpkin seeds for a midday snack. "Sometimes I roast them with garlic and salt."

Latest Posts


Getty Images

The History of Pointe Shoes: The Landmark Moments That Made Ballet's Signature Shoe What It Is Today

Pointe shoes, with their ability to elevate a dancer both literally and metaphorically to a superhuman realm, are the ultimate symbol of a ballerina's ethereality and hard work. For students, receiving a first pair of pointe shoes is a rite of passage. The shoes carry an almost mystical allure: They're an endless source of lore and ritual, with tips, tricks and stories passed down over generations.

The history of pointe shoes reveals how a delicately darned slipper introduced in the 1820s has transformed into a technical tool that offers dancers the utmost freedom onstage today.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Bill Cooper, Courtesy The Royal Opera House

Pro Pointe Shoe Hacks from Royal Ballet Principal Yasmine Naghdi

Did you know that Royal Ballet principal Yasmine Naghdi's pointe shoes are actually made up of two different models, combined? Below, watch pointe shoe fitter Josephine Lee interview Naghdi on all of her pointe shoe hacks, from her anti-slipping tricks to her darning technique.

Syvert Lorenz Garcia in Trey McIntyre's Who Am I Here? Courtesy McIntyre

The Trey McIntyre Project Is Back—And Completely Reimagined

By Nancy Wozny For Dance Magazine

Six years after shuttering his popular dance troupe Trey McIntyre Project, its eponymous founder is relaunching the company as a conduit for digital dance films, with a project called FLTPK. "It's not a company of dancers," McIntyre insists. "It's a community of artists."

In March, McIntyre was ready to premiere his David Bowie ballet Pretty Things, his first new work for Houston Ballet in nearly two decades, when the city shut down. With COVID-19 infections in the New York City area spiking, he decided to stay put.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks