Magazine article Dance Magazine

Seth Orza: How the Pacific Northwest Ballet Principal Transformed His Body

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Seth Orza: How the Pacific Northwest Ballet Principal Transformed His Body

Article excerpt

Somewhere between Pacific Northwest Ballet's fall 2015 production of Kiyon Gaine's Sum Stravinsky and its winter 2016 Romeo et Juliette, Seth Orza completely changed his look: from a strong, commanding presence to a lanky, impetuous boy.

"For Romeo, I wanted to seem more youthful," says Orza. "I'm 6 feet, and I wanted to lose about 10 pounds." To change both his physique and his stamina, Orza decided to step up his regular conditioning routine. This meant running and working out longer and with more intensity. "You have to keep your goal in mind," says Orza, "but achieve it the healthiest way you can: through diet and conditioning rather than drugs and food restriction. Otherwise, you get injured."

The 35-year-old principal power-trained for six months, performing 30 to 45 minutes of cardio five days a week and strength-training about three times a week. "Being a father of a 4-year-old and having a heavy dance schedule makes it a lot harder to stay consistent," admits Orza. "But you figure it out."

Orza also added in physical therapy exercises to rehabilitate a patellar tendon injury. Many had an eccentric component (resisting the weight as you slowly lengthen the muscle), which puts the muscle under tension longer and helps in muscle growth and reshaping.

The key to Orza's success is working out with a dancer's perspective. "Treat your body like an instrument, with respect," he says. "If you go a faster route, you set yourself up for injuries. But dancer shape is different than gym shape."

Orza's Routine

For stamina: Biking, running or using the elliptical 30-45 4 minutes, 5 days a week. …

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