Hanna Rubin's blog

When she was 5, Ashley Laracey danced as a party guest in Sarasota Ballet’s Nutcracker and was dazzled by the Sugarplum Fairy. “I knew that was what I wanted to do when I grew up,” the New York City Ballet soloist says. “It sealed the deal for me.” On December 22, Laracey will debut in the role in NYCB’s version. Pointe spoke with her recently about how she’s preparing for it.

What’s the part's biggest challenge?

Check out our iPad health exclusive! "Your Guide to Ultimate Ballet Body" is now available as an in-app purchase within the Pointe iPad app. You’ll get health tips, exercise secrets, nutrition surprises (you should be drinking chocolate milk—really!) and special exclusives. Features include energy-building recipes by dancers for dancers (don’t miss Jennifer Kronenberg’s Asian Garlic Salmon), the skinny on Drew Jacoby’s workout and more.

Finally, Covent Garden is expanding its popular big screen broadcasts to the U.S., and Royal Ballet fans will be able to get their fill of their favorite stars.

Story ballets are back. On Monday, when the Joffrey Ballet announced a $500,000 challenge grant from Chicago’s Rudolf Nureyev Dance Foundation to develop new full-length narrative works, it felt like a tipping point. A company best known in recent decades for its abstract contemporary repertoire, the Joffrey’s new grant steers it toward a different model, and signals that storytelling has returned to the creative mainstream.

Quirky and appealing as Amy Sherman-Palladino’s “Bunheads” can be, the charm flags quickly when she gets too far away from the dance studio. Last night’s winter season premiere spent many long minutes getting Michelle (Sutton Foster) back under the wing of Madame Fanny (Kelly Bishop) and the dancers back in training under Fanny’s eagle eye.

 

Recitals have their own awkward charm. The littlest dancers always look adorable; the older ones try so earnestly that with every variation’s successful coda the audience breathes a sigh of relief.

 

 Few dancers have been as popular with audiences as Angel Corella. When he gave his farewell performance with American Ballet Theatre last night, the vast Metropolitan Opera House, rarely full to the rafters, was sold out. Ballet lovers had come from all over to say goodbye.

 

 In true ballet fashion, “Bunheads” owes a lot to the enduring power of fairy tales. A Broadway princess (Tony Award winner Sutton Foster) wakes up in a town called Paradise (a nice dash of magical thinking there) to find herself in the shelter of a ballet studio run by a fairy godmother—okay, actually godmother-in-law. The princess escapes from a Las Vegas past that separated her from ballet—her first love—to a kingdom of niceness and sincerity.

 

Tomorrow night, Wendy Whelan will make her debut as a guest artist with the Stephen Petronio Company at New York’s Joyce Theater, dancing the choreographer’s Ethersketch 1. Pointe talked to Petronio about working with the celebrated New York City Ballet principal on the solo.