Saskatoon ballet dancer 'made lemonade out of lemons' when forced to return from New York City

Saskatoon ballet dancer Max Craven was forced to come home from New York this spring because of COVID-19, but he says he has "made lemonade out of lemons."

Max Craven is teaching online technique classes to junior athletes on Canada's artistic swim team

Max Craven returned to Saskatoon from New York in the spring when COVID-19 restrictions were imposed. His professional dance debut was canceled, but he's now teaching ballet online to Canada Artistic Swimming's junior team. (© BobHoltsmanPhotography)

Saskatoon ballet dancer Max Craven was forced to come home from New York this spring because of COVID-19, but he says he's "made lemonade out of lemons."

Craven was about to perform in the musical version of Footloose this spring. It would have been his professional debut after graduating from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, but the coronavirus restrictions hit and the show was canceled.

The graduate of Saskatoon's Marion M. Graham Collegiate didn't sit idle in Saskatoon for long. He was hired to teach online technique courses for the junior athletes on Canada's artistic swim team (formerly known as synchronized swimming).

Canada Artistic Swimming athletes have been unable to train in pools during COVID-19 restrictions, so they hired Saskatoon ballet dancer Max Craven to give online technique classes to their junior athletes. (Chanss Lagaden/CBC)

Craven has been teaching four classes a week out of Craven SPORT Services, his parents' physiotherapy clinic. He said he loves it. 

"You know, I've made lemonade out of lemons. Everyone in the world was dealt a bad hand when this pandemic started. It's things like this that make it a little easier. It softens the blow," he said.

Craven wasn't the only one left scrambling this spring. Artistic swimmers had no pool in which to train. They had to do more dryland training. Ballet seemed a perfect fit, said Canada Artistic Swimming chief sport officer Julie Healy.

Healy said Craven is doing an excellent job.

"He's a great teacher. He speaks well. He highlights what it is they need to focus on and then he can demonstrate it perfectly," she said.

Saskatoon ballet dancer Max Craven teaches online tecnique sessions to the junior team for Canada Artistic Swimming. (Chanss Lagaden/CBC)

Craven said it could be a while before he can return to New York, so it's nice to have something meaningful until that happens.

"There are so many bridges connecting artistic swimming and ballet," Craven said. "This feels really good."


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