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American Ballet Theater Dancer’s Home Doubles as a Studio

  • September 30, 2020

“He made it before the pandemic,” Mr. Royal said. “But because of the pandemic it’s something we have actually used, rather than this thing we sat at from time to time.”

If the apartment has a decorating scheme, it could be called cactus country casual. Two throw pillows with a Southwestern print are arranged on the gray sofa from Ikea. When Mr. Royal and Mr. Mysinski visited Zion National Park in Utah a few summers back, they stumbled on a Native American art gallery and came home with two small, rectangular rugs. A trip to the Grand Canyon netted a dreamcatcher. To mark a recent anniversary, the couple’s joint present was a photo of Antelope Canyon that Mr. Mysinski took; Mr. Royal had it blown up and mounted on canvas.

“We had to postpone a vacation to the West Coast partly because of the roaring fires that are right now taking place in the region we were supposed to visit,” said the Polish-born Mr. Mysinski. “So we’re doing everything we can to create an environment that reminds us of the times we were able to go there, and this picture helps.”

But their memento gathering is all over the map. The bookcase holds a sculpture of a hand from the Rodin Museum in Paris and a bottle of sand scooped from a Florida beach during a trip to see Mr. Royal’s family. On the television stand: the keys to the city of St. Petersburg, an honor bestowed a few years ago when Mr. Royal was performing in his hometown.

In-person company classes, rehearsals and performances are mostly on hold during the pandemic. One casualty was a history-making production of “Romeo and Juliet,” starring Mr. Royal and his colleague Misty Copeland, the first Black lead A.B.T. dancers to be cast in the title roles.

But, of course, the work goes on. “Home has turned into my own personal office, my own personal studio,” Mr. Royal said. Daily, he unfurls a square of studio flooring, rolls out a newly acquired portable barre — why, he wonders, didn’t he buy one sooner? — and goes through the dancer’s rituals in the living room or on the balcony. Then he turns over the space to Mr. Mysinski, who’s got his own practicing to do.

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