For the fourth time since Travis Park‘s game-changing revitalization in 2014, Ballet San Antonio‘s dancers migrated from the stage at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts to the nearby greenspace to wow spectators with their skill and grace.

Ballet in the Park drew spectators of all ages, who enjoyed food and drinks from local vendors while taking in the art of the 32-year-old company’s dancers.

“This is my fourth time doing Ballet in the Park,” said Sally Turkel, Ballet SA’s principal dancer. “It’s one of our only free community shows, so it’s always exciting to see how many people turn out and have a different audience.”

Dancers ranging from age 20-35 gave their audience a glimpse into their everyday training: what many spectators don’t know is that behind the seemingly effortless performances ballet dancers turn out on stage are hours of grueling training that demand painstaking precision, the highest level of mental focus, and technique that defies all physical boundaries.

The exhibit began with the dancers going through a 45-minute barre warm-up as Artistic Director Willy Shives explained their daily routines and what their bodies need to work up to full-performance readiness.

The dancers then shifted gears into a mixed program of performances some of the attendees had already witnessed at the Tobin. Outtakes from Don Quixote and The Sleeping Beauty as well as a more contemporary piece the company performed at last year’s Luminaria filled the park with the signature tapping of the pointe shoes the dancers seemingly float on.

“I enjoy performing outside, because it adds different elements,” Turkel said. “Certain pieces feel different outside with the wind blowing and the trees rustling. You see the audience’s faces and their reactions up close, and that’s really fun.”

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Hanna Oberhofer

Before moving to San Antonio in 2004, Hanna was a competitive rhythmic gymnast in her native Austria. She earned degrees from St. Mary’s University and the Texas State Graduate College before joining...

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Bonnie Arbittier

Bonnie Arbittier worked as a photojournalist for the San Antonio Report.