Somewhere in the history of ballet, a rumor started that dancers weren't very smart. Luckily, there are plenty of brilliant ballerinas who prove that rumor wrong. Take, for example, Melissa Thomas, a former American Ballet Theatre dancer who just graduated from Columbia University with a degree in psychology. She's now planning to pursue a master's degree in social work and eventually practice clinical psychotherapy. But as she tells it, ballet not only gave her the discipline she needed to succeed in her second career, it also became a passion that will never leave her.
The Kennedy Center will be overrun with ballet dancers this week. The third Ballet Across America festival starts today, and it’s a truly national celebration: The three programs feature Richmond Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Sarasota Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, The Washington Ballet, Ballet Austin and Pennsylvania Ballet. Amy Aldridge, a PAB principal who performed in the festival’s first incarnation, is back to do Choleric in The Four Temperaments.
A dancer's relationship with her pointe shoes is so intimate, they become not just the tools of her trade, but extensions of her body. But have you ever thought about how they actually get made? This fascinating 2-minute video goes inside the London Freed factory to capture the makers performing their magic. See how they transform the raw materials into something a ballet dancer can depend on.
Is ballet's post-Balanchine choreography rut finally over? Roslyn Sulcas, a contributor to Pointe, argues today in The New York Times that it is. She points out that works by Christopher Wheeldon, Alexei Ratmansky and Wayne McGregor offer a completely new way of using the classical vocabulary.
Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet dancers are in the pop culture spotlight once again. After making its Hollywood debut in 2011's The Adjustment Bureau, the company is currently starring in a viral ad campaign for 2(X)IST, a designer men's underwear label. The short film clip, titled ENDS, features dancers Rachelle Scott, Joaquim De Santana and Guillaume Quéau performing choreography by artistic director Benoit Swan Pouffer—with both of the guys modeling 2(X)IST's new "Speed" line of briefs.
Sit in any ballet dressing room long enough, and you'll start to hear one dancer complain about her jiggly thighs. Then another will chime in about the extra flesh on her stomach. Someone else will grumble about the size of her calves.
The season premiere of "Breaking Pointe" has just been moved up to July 22. We can hardly wait to find out what's in store this time around. In the meantime, we're fantasizing with our fingers crossed about a few things we hope to see:
1. Footage of Jewels. Ballet West performed the full ballet for the first time this April, and we'd love to go into some rehearsals and get a peek behind the curtain. Beckanne Sisk in the lead of "Rubies"? We bet she's pretty great.
Ballet dancers spend so many hours in the studio that they often don't get much sun—which makes Memorial Day beach or barbeque time all the more delicious. But watch out: Red, sunburned shoulders and tight leotard straps don't make a happy couple. What can you do when your skin feels like its on fire in class? Try these easy steps suggested by the Mayo Clinic:
1. Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen, to relieve the swelling and sensitivity. This is most effective if you do it within the first 24 hours of getting burned.
The Royal Ballet's latest production comes from someone completely outside the ballet world: Audrey Niffeneger, author of The Time Traveler's Wife. Her latest project, Raven Girl, is going to be simultaneously released this Friday as both a graphic novel and a ballet, with choreography by The Royal's resident choreographer Wayne McGregor.
In "True Blood"'s world of vampires and werewolves, one of the last things you'd expect to find is a ballerina. But one of the breakout stars of the fifth season of the HBO show (out on DVD and Blue-Ray today) is 500-year-old faerie Maurella, played by former ballet dancer Kristina Anapau. The actress grew up in Hawaii, then trained at The Joffrey Ballet and American Ballet Theatre schools.