Out of Office spotlights pioneers who have decided to pursue their passions beyond the typical 9-to-5 job.
There is nothing like London at Christmastime and there is nothing like Claridge’s festive hotel lobby with a tree designed by Kim Jones of Dior, no less. Adding to the whimsical merriment, you just might see their resident choreographer and professional dancer Marius Caluser – in full tuxedo tails, gliding across the black and white tiled floors. We spoke with him about how he navigates the fantasy job of teaching guests with two left feet to trip the light fantastic like a pro.
How long have you worked at Claridge’s in London?
I started working with Claridge’s almost six years ago.
How did you land this dream job of resident choreographer?
In 2015, at a Christmas dinner, I had the great pleasure to sit next to an icon of hospitality – Paula Fitzherbert, the Group Director of Communications at Maybourne Hotel Group. We instantly clicked and we realized that if ever there was a place to learn how to Ballroom dance, Claridge’s, the Art Deco jewel of Mayfair, must be it. Claridge’s has long been synonymous with hosting the most glamorous weddings and events in London and I am thrilled to be part of this family.
Is this something that has always been your passion?
Absolutely! I took my first dance steps at the age of 6 and I spent the next 15 years studying Ballroom Dancing, competing professionally in national and international competitions. In 2011, I decided to move to London to pursue my career as a teacher. Teaching is both art and science. It’s about people, hearts, minds, the past and the future. I always said – dancing, like any art form, is full of emotion, expression, honesty and vulnerability. Dancing, just like therapy, creates a very powerful bond between those involved. The time we spend together, we get to know each other’s emotions, we express those emotions through each other, we express them truthfully and it makes us vulnerable towards one another. This happens between those who know us, love us and accept us for who we are. We’re the extension of each other and, no matter how vulnerable we are, together we create and therefore become art.
What is a typical day like for you?
Most days, I go to the studio quite early – around 8 or 9am. I usually book my ProAm students in the morning and prepare for our ProAm competitions. These competitions provide an opportunity for an amateur to take part in competitions with a professional partner. In this case, the teacher is usually also the dance partner.
I then go to the gym, which is very close to the studio and practice, rehearse and work out. I like to go to the gym when it’s less busy – a guy waltzing by himself between the dumbbells – the less people that see that the better! I have a good healthy smoothie afterward and then home to freshen up for the second part of the day – wedding dance lessons for my beautiful couples getting married at Claridge’s. Because of their busy schedule, they normally book their appointments in the late afternoon/evening. By 8 or 9pm, I’m normally done and sometimes, on Fridays, I go for the “obligatory” cocktail at my favorite bar The Fumoir, at Claridge’s.
I love quiet evenings spent at home and by midnight, I’m usually in bed. That doesn’t necessarily mean I go to sleep – my brain usually starts choreographing or planning the lessons I have the next day.
What type of clients are you helping make their dream event come to life?
I have a background in teaching at all levels, from absolute beginners to professional dancers. I have performed, choreographed and led workshops for various clients including fashion brands, award-winning artists, celebrities, politicians and even aristocrats.
What is your specialty or what dances do you tend to teach guests the most at Claridge’s?
My specialty is Ballroom and Latin – I’ve been competing since I was 6 in both and now, I’m an ABD (associated board of dance) accredited Ballroom and Latin dance teacher.
In terms of dances taught at Claridge’s, this really depends on the chosen song for the couple’s Wedding Dance. I’d say most of the couples choose Waltz or Foxtrot, but sometimes they also pick a fun salsa or a tango.
What do you like to do for fun in London when you are not working?
I’m always working and I never work. You know what they say “if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” I get inspired to choreograph and dance by places, people, music, the world. When I’m not teaching or performing, I love spending my time with my friends and family. Most of the weekends, I go swimming and then have lunch or dinner by the pool with my loved ones.
Do you have any favorite travel destinations for inspiration?
That’s a hard question – it’s like choosing your favorite child. Every country has its own culture and magic, but if I had to choose, I would go for Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Argentina.