Dancer Spotlight

Ballet West's Emily Adams on the Unlikely Inspiration Behind Her Activewear Line

Adams in Balanchine's "Rubies." Photo by Luke Isley, Courtesy Ballet West.

In 2015, Ballet West dancer Emily Adams was promoted to principal; the milestone achievement left her feeling inspired—but also a little unbalanced. "Through the daily intensity, I wasn't enjoying everything as much as I should have been," she says. To unwind, Adams turned to yoga classes, where she found a renewed sense of self-love and an unexpected business idea: an eco-friendly activewear line called State of Bodhi. At 30, Adams is now a community-minded entrepreneur as well as a principal dancer.

Sewing classes never factored into Adams' extracurricular activities while growing up. Instead, the Pennsylvania native took as many ballet classes as possible before settling into the School of American Ballet's advanced division.

via Instagram, @stateofbodhi


Adams joined Ballet West II at 18, and has been rising through the ranks steadily ever since. "I wasn't a shooting star," she says. But Adams thrived in everything from Balanchine to Sleeping Beauty to her own choreographic projects for the company's Innovations program. Along with performing a diverse repertoire, Adams gets to dance alongside her sister, corps member Paige Adams, and her husband, first soloist Beau Pearson.

It wasn't a fellow dancer, however, who gave her the idea for State of Bodhi. "I became really good friends with a lady
at my yoga studio," she says. Marcia Light, a 50-something Brazilian yogi (and now Adams' business partner), had the spontaneous thought that Adams would be a natural designer. One day, Light simply said, "You should design clothes." Twenty-four hours later, the two sat at Light's sewing machine and began with simple lessons and patternmaking.

With the help of a digital patternmaker in Salt Lake City and a Los Angeles factory, Adams' early creations have evolved into State of Bodhi's first 10-piece line. It has everything from a sports bra to harem pants to structurally intricate tops. "Activewear is so popular right now," says Adams. "[State of Bodhi] bridges the gap between looking underdressed and being comfortable."

via Instagram, @stateofbodhi

With preorders on stateofbodhi.com completely sold out, Adams will do her first production run in August to bulk up her inventory. When the business grows, Adams and Light hope to hire women in Salt Lake City to weave leftover fabric scraps into yoga rugs, donating the proceeds to local charities. "I already have a career I love," Adams says, "so this is an opportunity to do everything the right way."

Juggling a business and company life is no easy feat. When she's not performing, Adams spends her evenings fulfilling customer orders, sourcing fabric and coordinating the many elements it takes to run a business. Yet Adams finds that devoting herself to non–dance-related activities in her free time helps recharge her focus in the studio. After all, Adams says, "I haven't reached my peak. I have a lot left in me."

via Instagram, @stateofbodhi

Cauthorn and Strongin, two to watch at SFB, in "Frankenstein." Photo by Erik Tomasson. Courtesy SFB.

Max Cauthorn was an on-the-rise corps member when he stepped into the title role of Liam Scarlett's Frankenstein last February; when the curtain came down, he was San Francisco Ballet's newest leading man. In his first full-length starring role, he carried the physically and emotionally demanding three-hour ballet with fluent technique and a natural charisma. But he didn't do it alone: In her own lead-role debut with SFB, soloist Lauren Strongin brought tenderness and steely integrity to Frankenstein's true love, Elizabeth.

Photo by Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB.

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Postelwaite and Pantastico's powerful reunion in "Cendrillon." Photo by Angela Sterling, Courtesy PNB.

Lucien Postlewaite's Prince was anything but charming last February in Pacific Northwest Ballet's production of Cendrillon, Jean-Christophe Maillot's contemporary take on the Cinderella story. He strutted and preened, egged on by his friends. But once this prince met Cendrillon at the ball, his egotism gave way to lyrical grace, from the curve of his neck through his elegant extensions. For her part, Noelani Pantastico embodied the role of Cendrillon, taking us on her journey from a lonely, unwanted stepdaughter to a lovestruck young woman. Both dancers glided through the technically demanding choreography, infusing it with heartfelt emotion. This may be a fairy tale, but the romance felt real.

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via Instagram

Usually, it's the jaw-dropping moments on the stage that leave us equal parts inspired and amazed. But National Ballet of Canada principal Svetlana Lunkina has us totally in awe of her behind-the-scenes routine. A 2015 Pointe cover star (and former Bolshoi dancer), Lunkina shares as many clips on Instagram of her classes and rehearsals as she does glam stage shots. Earlier this week, she shared her floor workout—and you have to see it to believe it.

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Photo by Paul Kolnik, courtesy New York City Ballet.

This time of year, we're used to seeing dancers embodying the flavors of The Nutcracker's magical Land of Sweets. But the real-life equivalents of those seasonal treats are more than just holiday guilty pleasures, and have benefits that could help you get through a crazy month of performances. Here are a few reasons to indulge in the spices and flavors of the season—now, and all year long.

Peppermint

This powerhouse herb has an abundance of benefits to help you get through a busy performance season. It's been known to aid digestion and help calm anxiety, and one study found that inhaling its vapors may improve athletic performance. Smelling peppermint has also been found to increase focus. You don't just have to get it from candy canes: Try brewing a hot cup of peppermint tea between rehearsals, or to wind down after a long day.

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Richmond Ballet dancers show off two adoptable shelter dogs at its annual "Pupcracker." Photo courtesy Richmond Ballet

If you're looking to upstage Clara, there's no better way to do it than with a four-legged furry friend—especially when that furry friend is looking for its forever home. Cue Richmond Ballet: During its December 16 and 21 matinees, the company is teaming up with the Richmond SPCA to present the "Pupcracker," special Nutcracker performances featuring adoptable shelter dogs. Several pups make their stage debut during the party scene as the guests bring their family pets to and from the Silberhaus home. Audience members can then meet—and adopt—the dogs during intermission and after the performance. The SPCA even provides a crate, collar, leash and treats so that patrons can bring their new family members home after the show.


Audience members can meet and adopt featured dogs during intermission. Photo Courtesy Richmond Ballet.

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Rudolf Nureyev and Merle Park in "The Nutcracker" (1968). Photo by Donald Southern, Courtesy of the Royal Opera House Collections.

Given the thousands of incarnations The Nutcracker has undergone—from tiny-tot productions in small-town studios to grand modern classics—the ballet's Grand Pas de Deux from Act II has remained remarkably intact. With slight variations, most professional dancers have seen its familiar choreography at some point or another. Tchaikovsky's radiant score calls to mind elegant promenades, partnered penchées and slow, supported développés.

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Photo by Taylor-Ferné Morris.

I have flatter feet and want to make them look better on pointe. Are there any special pointe shoes for my foot type? —Joana

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