Blogs

It may have been snowing Sunday night in New York City, but that didn’t stop students, parents and teachers from flocking to The School at Steps Pointe Shoe Workshop and Fair, part of the school’s Complete Dancer Series, sponsored by Pointe.

We have to hand it to the Russians. Olympic opening ceremonies are always brilliant spectacles, but rarely do they involve appearances by world-class ballet dancers.

Last Friday night, the Sochi opening ceremony offered a smorgasbord of rich, theatrical images, many of them created by Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark choreographer Daniel Ezralow. But the highlights for us bunheads were appearances by Russian ballet sensations Svetlana Zakharova, Ivan Vasiliev and Diana Vishneva.

Attention, New York City–area dancers! The School at Steps, a division of the legendary Steps on Broadway, is hosting its annual Pointe Shoe Workshop & Fair (sponsored by none other than Pointe) this Sunday night.

If you're like me, you had at least one photo of Patricia Barker on your wall growing up. The longtime Pacific Northwest Ballet principal was a fearless, eloquent interpreter of Balanchine works, in particular, and ballet fans around the world could write sonnets about her beautiful feet. Today, she's artistic director of Grand Rapids Ballet in Michigan.

Here's a 2001 clip of Barker as Titania in Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

 

I have a love/hate relationship with figure skating. Part of me roots for the fact that it's fairly artistic—it's the closest thing to dance I'll ever see at the Olympics. (PS: I'm obsessed with all things Olympics.) On the other hand, I'm always cringing at skaters' lines and sloppy limbs. And then there are the long programs set to music from Swan Lake accompanied by bad, feathery costumes, which are truly hard to watch.

Even ballet fans far from the U.K. know and love longtime English National Ballet star Daria Klimentová.

We know her by her dancing, of course: She is supremely elegant, expressive, and precise. During her 25 years with the company, she brought a jewel-like sparkle to nearly every role in the classical repertoire.

The prestigious Prix de Lausanne competition wrapped up this weekend, and scholarship winners have been announced—including Precious Adams, an American dancer who's been studying at the Bolshoi Academy in Moscow. Here's the full list:

Haruo Niyama, Japan
Hakucho Ballet Academy

Sae Maeda, Japan
Mayumi Kinouchi Ballet Studio

Precious Adams, USA
Bolshoi Ballet Academy

David Fernando Navarro Yudes, Spain
Princess Grace Academy, Monte-Carlo

Garegin Pogossian, France

Our very own advice columnist, former Suzanne Farrell Ballet dancer Amy Brandt, recently did an interview for the ballet podcast Balancing Pointe. In it she shares her personal—and not entirely traditional—journey through the professional ballet world, and her words of wisdom for aspiring dancers. (Faithful "Ask Amy" readers know just how wise Amy's words are.)

Elegant Darcey Bussell was one of The Royal Ballet's star ballerinas for two decades, impressing audiences with her beautifully refined technique (and those legs). Here she is breezing through a fiendishly difficult variation from Frederick Ashton's Sylvia. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

If you're having difficulty embodying a character you're dancing in a ballet, you might want to schedule some reading time before the performance.