Back to Work: Killer Careers
Though we can hardly believe it ourselves, it’s already September. And you know what that means: back to work! Even if you’re not in school, there’s something exciting about the transition from summer to fall. There always seems to be this sense of new beginnings.
And with our summer holidays behind us – unless you’re particularly lucky – we figured it’s about time we get down to business. All of you kick a** every single time you step into the studio. You give it your all and invest fully in those 45 minutes. And after talking to many of you outside of class, it sounds like you guys are just as impressive when you’re not in the studio as well.
In honour of back to work season, we are sitting down with a few of our riders with particularly killer careers to find out how the heck they get it all done. This week, we had the pleasure of chatting with Khayla Fitzpatrick, a Ro’regular and a member of Het Nationale Ballet company. Want to know what it’s like to dance your way through life? Well, keep reading!
Hi Khayla! We are amazed by all that you do, so we want to thank you for taking the time to speak to us. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Khayla Fitzpatrick, and I am a professional ballet dancer with Het Nationale Ballet here in Amsterdam. I was born in Quebec, Canada and lived between Quebec and Toronto until I moved to Amsterdam. I first discovered Amsterdam when I came on a summer exchange for the ballet program here at 16 years old. I always knew that this is where I wanted to be after I graduated school in Canada; I auditioned and got offered a contract with Dutch National Ballet, moved to Holland and joined the junior company at 18 years old, followed by the main company at 19. I am also half Finnish, which made it easier to move to Europe.
So you could say Amsterdam was calling! You were drawn to Amsterdam and, eventually, drawn to Rocycle. How did you join our family?
I had tried spinning for the first time a few years back in London and had enjoyed it, but it never really crossed my mind to give it a second chance. When I joined the ballet company, it wasn’t the easiest thing to adjust to. The job is incredibly demanding, and the life that comes with it is rigorous and stressful. I needed something that would let me put that life on “pause” for even just 45 minutes, something that could keep my mind distracted yet energized at the same time. I then started Rocycle and have been hooked ever since.
It really is such an incredible way to release stress and switch off your mind, if that’s what you need. We can imagine your job is incredible intense. What does a typical day look like for you?
It’s hard for people to really understand what goes on in the studios and on stage. To most people, ballet is beauty, and to a certain extent it is. But it is so much more than that. It is sweat, blood, tears, and hours of hard work. We have a pretty busy schedule; on days where we rehearse for upcoming programs, our “normal work days” we call them, we are in the studio from 10 am to 6 pm. Keep in mind that this doesn’t include gym time, Pilates, physiotherapy and everything else that needs to get done before and after those hours. On performance days, our schedule varies, but most of the time it would be something like 11am to 11 pm (with obvious lunch/dinner/show preparation time). Even though we get some breaks, we still have to manage our time to eat, do our makeup, hair, as well as warm-up and anything else that needs to be attended to before the show.
We are exhausted just imagining it! How do you manage all that stress?
Rocycle is definitely one of the things I turn to when I feel stressed. It helps me decompress and get my mindset back on track to a more positive one. I also find it helpful to take a few yoga and meditation classes to unwind and release stress.
It’s totally all about balance. Speaking of which, do you think having a balanced diet is important to help you keep everything in check?
Well it’s no secret that ballet dancers are very focused on nutrition. We put a lot of strain on our bodies every day; our body is our tool, and we really need to treat it like a temple. It is so important to get enough fuel and to eat the right things. Contrary to what people think, dancers eat a lot. Our figure is everything, and it needs a great amount of energy to keep dancing for so long. Exercise is also important; something like Rocycle is a killer workout especially for your cardio, which is also an important component for us dancers. Rest is also a key element; our muscles as well as our minds need the time to recover. All of this helps us grow stronger and maintain a healthy body/lifestyle.
We think we could take a page out of your book when it comes to balance! How do you make sure to fit exercise into your routine?
It’s something you have to commit to. But, you also have to listen to your body. If fatigue levels are high, then maybe instead of hitting the gym, I would take a restorative yoga class or just let myself rest for the day. If my schedule isn’t as busy or as vigorous, I’ll make sure to fit in Rocycle before/after work, or on my days off.
That’s so true. We often forget about the importance of rest! Tell us, what can we always find in your fridge?
Grapes, almond butter, and hummus.
Perfect snacks for pre- or post-workout. As you might have noticed, music is very important to us here at Rocycle. Do you think it’s important for motivation? What music helps you release stress?
Without music, I would not have a job. Dance is all about fulfilling the music. I am constantly listening to it. Not just at work, but also at the gym, during my daily commute, while I’m cooking, etc. It provides such a diverse selection; anyone can get inspired from it. When I need to de-stress or focus right before a performance, I listen either to some techno or rap. It helps me get all my nerves out while still being in my “zone” and staying focused. When I unwind at home, the music will always vary.
We never would have pictured a ballerina listening to techno before a performance! We love it. Could you tell us something most people don’t know about you?
Most people don’t usually know how goofy I can be until they get to really know me.
Alright, one last thing. What does Rocycle mean to you?
Rocycle means having power. I am taking charge of my day, and for 45 minutes, I am able to obtain levels of positivity, energy, and strength all at once. It allows me to create balance in my life, to take control and give my body exactly what it needs. And most importantly, it reminds me that anything is possible, on and off the bike.