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Photo by Andreas Altmann
Suzana Stankovic is a dance theatre artist and founder of Wild Heart Performing Arts Studio.

An Astoria ballet studio is offering a free total-body workout for the first time, to offer an inspiring and empowering at-home workout people can practice during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s a total-body workout for strength, flexibility and endurance for non-dancers and dancers alike,” said Suzana Stankovic, founder of Astoria’s Wild Heart Performing Arts Studio.

Stankovic filmed the 55-minute video with her iPad. In the video, the Astoria native reviews basic techniques and mental warm-ups, followed by a fun cardio warm-up, floor exercises, standing exercises, deep stretch and meditation.

All that’s needed is an exercise mat or rug and a chair.

“I wanted to offer a great workout that went beyond the physical; that’s why I talk about the importance of the feeling and essence of ballet in my verbal introduction and why I include a mental warm-up,” Stankovic said. “Without the feeling of ballet, the exercises are just mechanical movements limited to the physical body, but with the feeling of ballet — grace, beauty, elegance, breath — you rise to a higher level within yourself; you tap into your potential, which is of the mind, heart and soul, or spirit.”

Stankovic believes the physical work is a pathway to something greater than a toned, strong, flexible body. “The other achievements are in who you become as a result of the work, which is the greatest reward,” she said.

Stankovic opened Wild Heart Performing Arts Studio in 2017, to provide world-class dance training with a holistic approach. Per New York state’s COVID-19 guidelines, the studio located at 32-32 Steinway St. is closed.

Stankovic said she paid her faculty as long as she could in the beginning of the closures, during which they posted classes online for their student body, children and adults. The classes, which can be found on their YouTube Channel, are free and will be available online for the duration of the shutdown. But individuals may also donate $10 or more for their online classes, if they can.

As a life-long independent dancer-choreographer, Stankovic said she’s used to coping with the uncertainty that the pandemic has created.

“Of course, I’ve never lived through a pandemic before, but I can choose to panic or to approach this with the same creativity and resourcefulness I have approached every other setback in my life,” she said. “It is very difficult and anxiety-inducing, however, I am an artist and I will prevail. We are made fierce and fearless through adversity.”

For more information, visit www.wildheartpas.com.

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