Discover The Maldivian Getaway With A Ballet Twist


When Steph Theodosiou was asked if she would like to attend a beginner’s ballet class at Sadler’s Wells with a Royal Ballet-trained dancer, her immediate answer was, of course, yes!

The Shangri-La Villingili Resort & Spa, Maldives recently announced their new partnership with dancer-turned-teacher Karis Scarlette, who will be running a ten-day ballet retreat on the island in April. To celebrate this, Karis taught an exclusive class at London’s Sadler’s Wells earlier this week.

I arrived at the theatre looking forward to doing something a little different with my midweek evening and was directed to the Lilian Baylis Studio via the Stage Door. I changed in a dressing room complete with illuminated Hollywood-style mirrors, then stepped out onto the stage. The bright theatre lights were on and pointed to the barres waiting for us, whilst the huge screen in the background displayed beautiful sun-drenched images of the Maldivian resort.

SLMD Dine By Design (2)

Among the participants were also quite a few of Karis’s regular students, all gushing her praises about how wonderful a teacher she is. After a successful career performing with the Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and English National Ballet, Karis turned her attention to teaching in 2009. In 2015, she launched her school En Avant Ballet, offering beginner and intermediate ballet classes in London to men and women of all ages and fitness levels.  She now counts Hollywood actors, singers, models, athletes and royalty amongst her ever-expanding international client base, so I was keen to get started and experience what all the fuss was about.


We took centre stage, the music came on and it was our moment to shine as Karis led us through the exercises. I must admit that I was very impressed with her teaching style: she is clear and confident with her direction and uses eloquent imagery to explain the difficult technique of ballet. We certainly worked up a sweat under the hot stage lights!

Karis’s Shangri-La retreat will focus on traditional ballet techniques, artistry and strength in a personable environment set against the calming backdrop of Villingili’s turquoise waters, white sands and lush foliage. Guests are invited to participate in group classes inspired by the Royal Ballet’s most famous works, with special Mini Ballet sessions for children. In addition to improving technique, Karis believes in helping guests discover how healing classical ballet can be, even for complete beginners. Karis will also hold one-to-one Sunset Guided Meditation and Stretching sessions for those seeking improved flexibility and a sense of absolute relaxation.

SLMD Bird's Eye View (2)

Accompanying the residency are the “Tutu Perfect” body treatment at CHI, The Spa, and the moonlit “Swan Lake” themed dinner experience by the tranquil waters of the island’s majestic lagoon. Other activities available at Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa include tennis, golf, diving, snorkelling, coral planting, Maldivian night-fishing and exploring the neighbouring islands and local village communities by bike.

Make it happen
When: 5th – 15tth April 2018
Cost: The Ballet Retreat with Karis Scarlette (5th-15th April 2018) package starts from US$999 (approx. £725) per person/night and includes:
▪ Four ballet fitness group classes, per person, with Karis Scarlette, for two persons (option of Mini Ballet classes for children)
▪ One private session of Sunset Guided Meditation & Stretching with Karis Scarlette for two persons
▪ A “Swan Lake” Dine by Design experience on the Green Lagoon, for two persons
▪ A “Tutu Perfect” body treatment at CHI, The Spa, available for two persons
Bookings: Please note, terms & conditions apply. For more information and to make a reservation, phone 0800 028 3337, email or visit

Written by Steph Theodosiou

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