Alonzo King LINES Ballet’s Ilaria Guerra Shares Her Typical Daily Routine

April 13, 2023

Last season, Alonzo King LINES Ballet company dancer Ilaria Guerra was busy completing her master’s degree in arts administration through Drexel University. “It was a lot of homework,” says Guerra, a graduate of LINES’ BFA program at Dominican University. “I would study from 7 to 9 am, go to work, and then come home and study from 7 to 9 pm in the evening.” This season though, she’s swapped schoolwork for wedding planning with her fiancé. “I do it in the morning before rehearsals. We are getting married in Italy and it’s a good time to talk with our wedding planner there,” she says.

Guerra has not only become excellent at time management, but adaptable to almost any environment, in part because she tours with LINES so extensively. “Our schedule is not as routine—you never know what hotel you’re going to be in, where you’re going to eat—so you have to find that ritual within yourself. For me, it’s ballet class; whether we’re on tour or at home in San Francisco, class really centers me.”

Below, Guerra takes us through her typical day in San Francisco and on tour.

7 am: Wake up. First, she makes a cup of tea and calls her fiancé, Eric. “We have been in a long-distance relationship for 12 years,” she says. “He lives in Tucson, Arizona.” Guerra does her skin care routine, then makes breakfast. “I usually have a bagel with peanut butter and honey, a banana, some blueberries, and a hard-boiled egg for protein.” She also packs her lunch for the day and uses this time to do other work (like talking to her wedding planner).

9 am: Leave home. Guerra takes the Muni, San Francisco’s public transit system, into the city, which takes her about 40 minutes. She usually reads on her Nook tablet or listens to podcasts during her commute.

9:45–10:45 am: Guerra often uses this time to runs errands (grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments) before heading to work. On Tuesdays she has a standing Gyrotonic private lesson with former LINES dancer Maurya Kerr. “That’s my big form of cross-training that I’ve done since I was in high school.”

10:45–11 am: Snack break. “I always pack a cookie because by the time I get to class my blood sugar is low, so I eat my cookie and a banana.”

11 am–12:30 pm: Company class. “Our class at LINES is actually an open class, so members of the public take it as well,” Guerra says.

Ilaria Guerra stands at a ballet barre and does a développé à la seconde with her left leg, her left arm held high above her head. She wears a green tank leotard, black shorts and tan ballet slippers, and looks up towards her hand. Behind her, Alonzo King, wearing a newsboy cap, black zip-up sweater and light pants, offers a correction and gently holds her left knee. A piano is shown behind them, with a woman playing.
Guerra takes class with Alonzo King. Photo by Quinn Wharton, Courtesy LINES Ballet.

12:45 pm: Rehearsals begin. Currently, Guerra and the rest of the company are in the creation process with director and choreographer Alonzo King for a new collaborative work featuring music by Lisa Fischer and visuals by Richard Misrach. “It’s going to be really cool and I’m excited to see it come together,” she says.

2:15–2:40 pm: Lunch break. “My friends make fun of me because I have this bento box. It’s for kids and bright purple, but it’s perfect because it has little compartments. I’m Italian, so I bring charcuterie: cherry tomatoes, crackers, string cheese, grapes, salami slices, and usually a protein bar,” she says.

6 pm: Rehearsals finish for the day. Guerra will sometimes see the company’s physical therapist or massage therapist for about 20 minutes after work.

7 pm: Guerra arrives home after taking the Muni back from the studio. She preps meals over the weekend, so she eats dinner right away. “The rest of the night is pretty chill,” she says. “I shower, I call my fiancée or my best friend—a lot of the people that I love are spread out all over, so I spend a fair bit of time on the phone talking to them. That’s what recharges me.” If she’s not chatting with loved ones, she’s watching Netflix or reading. “I go through one or two books a month at least,” she says.

10:30 pm: Bedtime.

Weekends: “Because I have people everywhere, I am a jet-setter,” Guerra says, laughing. “I’ll often fly out on Friday night. After rehearsal ends at 6, I run to the airport.” Most of the time, her destination is Tucson to visit Eric.

“If I’m in San Francisco for the weekend,” she says, “one of my traditions on Sunday is to get beignets. In the morning, I take the bus down to the ocean and I go to Devil’s Teeth Baking Company, and I take my beignets and coffee to the beach. I take a good long walk—sometimes I’ll walk all the way home.”

Ilaria Guerra lunges deeply on her right leg, facing the audience during a performance. She extends and overcrosses her left leg behind her, and twists her upper body so that both arms are curved and reaching towards her right. She wears a light brown leotard and long textured pants in the same color. Behind her, two shirtless male dancers in dark green pants kneel on their right knees and crouch down, while the silhouette of two musicians are show in the background.
Guerra in Alonzo King’s Sutra. Photo by Chris Hardy, courtesy LINES Ballet.

On tour: Guerra wakes up early and tries to keep a similar morning routine. “The best part of tour is usually breakfast—all of the dancers congregate at the hotel [restaurant]. We stay at breakfast for a long time, sometimes an hour!” she says. Then the dancers go to the theater for tech rehearsals (usually for spacing and lighting, with minimal dancing) for about three hours. “For a 7:30 show, we’ll have class from 5:15 to 6:45 onstage, and then we have 45 minutes to do our hair and makeup.”

After the performance, the company members rush to find a quick dinner if possible before returning to the hotel. “We always like to explore whatever city or town we’re in,” Guerra says. “We go to a lot of museums, churches, cathedrals, historical monuments. We spend a lot of time together as a company, especially when we’re on tour—we are extremely close.”