The traveling ring set that sits on the beach serves as a monument for the bold and the amazing that makes Santa Monica unique – a place to watch the seemingly skilled amateur acrobats fly around, letting the rhythm of the rings be their guide.

It’s almost like each of them is performing a solo ballet. David Block knows plenty about how that feels. At the age of 20, Block is a member of the Los Angeles Ballet. A Long Island native with Ukrainian heritage, he grew up with a dual passion for soccer and dancing.

“I loved soccer,” Block said. “Dance was just something my mother wanted me to do for discipline and to have my posture. I still played soccer and loved soccer and I didn’t really care much for dance. Until I was 15, when I reached a level where I knew if would continued, I would be a professional.”

Right after his high school graduation, Block migrated out west to audition for the Los Angeles Ballet and aced it. It wasn’t long until he got his first exposure of Santa Monica and its beautiful beach. Once he saw the playful performers ride the traveling rings, it immediately inspired Block to pick up a new passion.

“I noticed how graceful and cool they looked,” Block said, “and I thought how incredible it would be if I was able to do that.”

From there, he started coming to the beach twice a day — before and after ballet practice — to master the majesty of the rings. Once he got a feel of the movement, riding the rings became second nature for him.

When Block is flowing through the rings gracefully like the ballerino that he is, he can feel the positive vibes surge from his brain to his heart down to his feet.

“It’s instant joy as soon I grab the first ring and then my feet are off the ground and I’m swinging with two rings,” he said.

There’s also a little community in Santa Monica Beach that rides the rings and has made Block feel well at home. Considering the way he has felt the effects from this activity, it’s rather easy to form a community through a shared form of therapy.

“Everyone is so unique,” Block said. “Everyone comes from different backgrounds. We all come here and we all feel like if we have any problems, we can go on the rings and those problems will go away.”

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